The Corner

DOJ Drops Anti-School Choice Lawsuit in La.

The Obama administrated has abandoned its request for an injunction against Louisiana’s school-voucher program, designed to help low- and middle-income students in failing schools to attend schools of their choice. The Department of Justice claimed that the program impeded the federally mandated desegregation process, but in late October was unable to produce the documents central to their lawsuit, saying they needed to obtain the documents from archives and review them. A number of more comprehensive studies indicated that the program presented no such problem, and may have actually been encouraging integration.

A federal judge, Ivan Lemelle, announced Friday that the DOJ has dropped their request for an injunction against the program, which would have temporarily ended it, but is still trying to implement a review process that would impede the granting of vouchers.

“We are pleased that the Obama administration has given up its attempt to end the Louisiana Scholarship Program with this absurd lawsuit,” Governor Bobby Jindal said in a statement. “It is great the Department of Justice has realized, at least for the time being, it has no authority to end equal opportunity of education for Louisiana children.”

Orlando Watson, communications director for black media of the Republican National Committee, says, “It’s a shame that the president tried to shut the door on opportunity for so many black families. The DOJ’s decision to drop its lawsuit, however, is a victory for black parents who want a choice in education so that their child has a chance at a brighter future.”

On November 22, Lemelle will hold an oral hearing where the DOJ will request a review of the program. Though the injunction has been dropped, Governor Jindal warns that the Obama administration may still try to curb the program in other ways. “We will continue to fight, at every step, the Department of Justice’s new Washington strategy to red tape and regulate the program to death,” Jindal said.

He warned that the proposed review process would stop the state from telling parents that their child has received a scholarship for a full 45 days while the DOJ reviews the award and has a chance to object. “The updated Department of Justice request reeks of federal government intrusion that would put a tremendous burden on the state, along with parents and teachers who want to participate in school choice,” Jindal said.

“The obvious purpose of this . . . would be to prevent parents from learning that the Department of Justice might try to take their child’s scholarship away if it decides that the child is the wrong race,” Jindal added.

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