The Department of Justice is suing the state of Louisiana in federal court, attempting to block the use of school vouchers in the 2014–2015 school year because, according to the Obama administration, they impede the federally-mandated desegregation process. Four Louisiana families who would be affected by the DOJ’s move want to join the state as defendants in that lawsuit, but the Justice Department is trying to stop them from doing so.
In a brief filed on Tuesday, the government argued that the families, whose children are enrolled in the voucher program (known as the Louisiana Scholarship Program) do not meet the basic legal requirements to join the suit because their interest in the “future receipt of a voucer” is “too remote to warrant intervention at this time.” Government lawyers also contend that the families lack standing because the Justice Department is not seeking to “take particular vouchers away from any students who have received them” — rather, it would block them from receiving vouchers in the future.
Jindal slammed the arguments put forward in yesterday’s brief. “The Obama administration wants to deny a voice to the very people who will be harmed by this ridiculous lawsuit,” he said in a statement. “In an offensively worded motion, the U.S. Department of Justice is trying to muzzle parents who simply want to express an opinion about why their children should have the opportunity to escape failing schools.” He went on to accuse the administration of telling Louisiana parents to “sit down and shut up.”
The Louisiana Scholarship Program allows low-income students in C-, D- or F-graded public schools to enroll in particular private schools. Jindal has argued that, contrary to the federal government’s contention, the voucher program is a civil-rights initiative because the vast majority of the participants are minority students.