[JURIST] The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] heard oral arguments [day call, PDF; briefs] Tuesday in two cases. In Forest Grove School District v. T.A. [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report], the Court will consider whether the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) [text] permits a tuition reimbursement award against a school district and in favor of parents who unilaterally place their child in private school, where the child had not previously received special education and related services under the authority of a public agency. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion, PDF] that such reimbursement is not barred. Counsel for the school district argued, "[t]he 1997 amendments to IDEA prohibit tuition reimbursement awards for students who are unilaterally placed in private school without first having received special education services from the public school district. This is so under ordinary principles of statutory construction..." Counsel for the respondent argued:
The school district in this case improperly denied T.A., a child with a disability who had always been enrolled in public schools, access to all public special education services. It asserts that because its wrong eligibility determinations prevented T.A. from receiving special education services, it is immune from reimbursing T.A.'s parents the cost of obtaining those services from another source.The Court also heard arguments in Cuomo v. Clearing House Association [oral arguments transcript, PDF; JURIST report], in which it will consider whether the New York state attorney general is permitted to take certain measures to enforce state fair lending law against national banks by subjecting those entities to "visitorial powers" under the National Bank Act (NBA) [12 USC § 484(a) text] and 12 CFR § 7.4000 [text]. The regulation was issued by the Office of the Comptroller of Currency (OCC) [official website], interpreting § 484(a) to preempt state enforcement of state laws against national banks. The US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit held [opinion, PDF] that the attorney general's actions were not permitted. Counsel for the attorney general argued:
Under the OCC regulation at issue here, State anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws can be enforced against national banks by the Federal OCC and by private parties, but not by State attorneys general. This unusual enforcement preemption, which detaches the State's power to make laws from its power to enforce them, was not written into the National Bank Act by Congress in 1864, and it's implausible that Congress implicitly delegated to OCC the power to read it in now.Counsel for respondent Clearing House Association argued that "[s]ection 484 plainly has preemptive effect."