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Supreme Court declines to hear No Child Left Behind challenge

The US Supreme Court [official website; JURIST news archive] on Monday denied a petition for certiorari [order, PDF] in the case of Pontiac School District v. Duncan, which challenged whether the No Child Left Behind Act [official website; JURIST news archive] could impose requirements upon school districts without providing funding. The plaintiffs allege that Congress cannot impose requirements on local school districts without providing adequate funding to meet those requirements. The Obama administration argued against the grant of certiorari [brief, PDF] in May, and the court gave no reason for denying the petition. In October 2009, the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit sitting en banc split 8-8 [opinion, PDF] on whether to overturn a dismissal of the lawsuit by the US District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. As a result, the dismissal was affirmed [order, PDF], overturning the ruling of a panel of the appeals court, which had held [opinion, PDF; JURIST report] that the case could proceed. The district court originally dismissed the suit [JURIST report], ruling [dismissal order, PDF] that the plaintiffs did not have a cause of action since if Congress had intended the law to be fully funded, it would have done so in the legislation.

Also Monday, the Supreme Court in a per curiam order [text, PDF] sent a certified question to the Montana Supreme Court [official website] in the case of US v. Juvenile Male, suspending proceedings until the Montana court responds. The question seeks to determine if there is still a live controversy in the case because the challenged federal sex offender registration has expired. The defendant was found delinquent by the US District Court for the District of Montana in 2005 after pleading "true" to engaging in sex acts with a minor under 12, and was later required to register as a sex offender under the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act of 2006 [text]. On appeal, the defendant challenged this registration on ex post facto [Cornell LII backgrounder] grounds in the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The Ninth Circuit ruled [opinion text] in favor of the defendant, finding an ex post facto violation. The certified question asks whether the ongoing sex offender registration required under state law is dependent upon the defendant's former federal sex offender registration, which would indicate a live dispute, or is required independent of federal law, rendering the ex post facto claim moot.

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