The DOJ drops its suit against Louisiana’s school-voucher program, kind of. Not really.

posted at 3:21 pm on November 19, 2013 by Erika Johnsen

Earlier this year, the Department of Justice sued the state of Louisiana and thus began an egregiously counterproductive crusade against the state’s school-voucher program, which was itself designed to provide alternate opportunities to low- and middle-income families whose children would otherwise be stuck in failing public schools. The Obama administration claimed that the program was somehow walking back the progress of a federal desegregation order of yore (1975, to be exact) — which seemed strange, because the overwhelming majority of the program’s beneficiaries have in fact been minorities. Even the Washington Post’s editors came out swinging against the DOJ’s embarrassment of a lawsuit, and pointed out the situation smacks much more of a reinforcement of the Obama administration’s pro-union, anti-school choice leanings than a legitimate effort to put a stop to an ostensibly discriminatory voucher program.

On Friday, however, a ruling in a U.S. district court in Louisiana said that Eric Holder’s department was “abandoning its previous request” to seek a permanent injunction against the scholarship program, which seemed like pretty good news at first — until it became clear that the DOJ is merely switching up their tactics and will instead be seeking to require Louisiana to undergo a lengthy review process that submits information on every voucher application to the feds for approval before it can be awarded to the student. The Weekly Standard reports on the ruling and the DOJ’s renewed approach:

On Friday, Judge Ivan Lemelle of the U.S. district court of the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled the parents could not intervene in the case because the feds are “no longer seeking injunctive relief at this time.” Lemelle explained that in the intervening months since the Justice Department filed suit, it had made clear both in a supplemental filing and in its opposition to the parent group’s motion to intervene that it was not seeking in its suit to end the voucher program or take away vouchers from students.

Lemelle continued: “The Court reads these two statements as the United States abandoning its previous request that the Court ‘permanently enjoin the State from issuing any future voucher awards to students unless and until it obtains authorization from the federal court overseeing the applicable desegregation case.’”

Lemelle will hold an oral hearing on Friday, November 22, during which Justice will make its case for the federal review process of the voucher program.

Louisiana governor and school-choice champion Bobby Jindal applauded the DOJ’s dropped injunction in his statement, but made it clear that he’s perfectly well aware of what the Justice Department is really trying to do here, emphasis mine:

Governor Jindal said, “We are pleased that the Obama Administration has given up its attempt to end the Louisiana Scholarship Program with this absurd lawsuit. 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.

“However, 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.

“The Department of Justice’s new position is that it wants bureaucrats in Washington to have the authority to decide where Louisiana children get an education.

“The centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s ‘process’ is a requirement that the state may not tell parents, for 45 days, that their child has been awarded a scholarship while the department decides whether to object to the scholarship award. The obvious purpose of this gag order 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.

So, in a nutshell, the Obama administration is ditching their attempt to put a permanent stop to the program and is instead looking to require Louisiana to submit to a federal review process before handing out its scholarships. How very magnanimous of them.


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Louisiana should just ignore this dictate. Let DoJ sue them over it.

NotCoach on November 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM

GO BOBBY!

ThePrez on November 19, 2013 at 3:24 PM

Who knew the DOJ was racist.

Patriot Vet on November 19, 2013 at 3:25 PM

I blame Arne Duncan

jake49 on November 19, 2013 at 3:28 PM

I suspect the DOJ knew they were going to lose and is just throwing crap against the wall to see if anything will stick.

Johnnyreb on November 19, 2013 at 3:31 PM

Ignore the swine. Full speed ahead.

Mason on November 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM

A perfect case for the former Senator Edwards to use in resuming his trial career. Deep pocketed defendant. His clients will be the mutitudinous Louisiana poor, charter representatives of the “second America”. Lots of publicity. Yum yum.

I’m sure he won’t mind taking on the teachers union. Heh.

MTF on November 19, 2013 at 3:32 PM

Wow.

At first I thought this was some kind of preemptive political strike at Bobby Jindal. But there is more to this than that.

They really do not want poor kids to get a decent education. Maybe they are worried that if they are educated they will not vote Democratic in the future.

rockmom on November 19, 2013 at 3:33 PM

If Obama and Holder cared about black children as much as they claim, they would attack gangs in the same way that the Kennedy brothers attacked the mafia.

Resist We Much on November 19, 2013 at 3:33 PM

Hey how ya doin’? Whaddya got against duh yoonyun? Fuggedaboudit, know whud I mean?

slickwillie2001 on November 19, 2013 at 3:34 PM

Louisiana should just ignore this dictate. Let DoJ sue them over it.

NotCoach on November 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Here, Here!

How is education a federal power now?

Oil Can on November 19, 2013 at 3:35 PM

o/t

Illegal Alien Was Given “Supervised Release” By Gov For Smuggling, He Then Killed U.S. Border Agent

Via Breitbart:

A Mexican national who entered the U.S. illegally to kill a U.S. Border Patrol agent has been given a hefty sentence after prosecution by the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

Marcos Rodriguez-Perez was previously given “supervised release” by U.S. authorities for illegally smuggling human beings into the US. While on supervised release, the illegal alien participated in the 2009 killing of U.S. Border Patrol Agent Robert Rosas, Jr., along with three other Mexican nationals who had also entered the U.S. illegally or otherwise played a role in the killing.

The four admittedly took advantage of the unsecured U.S./Mexico border and lured, trapped, and murdered the young Border Patrol agent for the purpose of stealing his night-vision goggles.

Rodriguez-Perez will serve 56 years in a U.S. prison cell for his participation in the crime. He pleaded guilty to “conspiracy to commit robbery and kidnapping, robbery of personal property of the United States, and use and carrying of a firearm during the commission of a crime of violence,” according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

In a Breitbart news exclusive, National Border Patrol Council Vice President Shawn Moran stated: “The fact that this killer was on supervised release for alien smuggling compounds this tragedy. We need to take alien smuggling and immigration crimes seriously. This case belies the commonly held notion that illegal aliens are good people just coming to the US to look for work.”

Keep reading…

Resist We Much on November 19, 2013 at 3:36 PM

Jindal should have his mouthed filled with popo.

Bishop on November 19, 2013 at 3:37 PM

So, in a nutshell, the Obama administration is ditching their attempt to put a permanent stop to the program and is instead looking to require Louisiana to submit to a federal review process before handing out its scholarships.

And how many of these requests are going to get “lost?” 80%? 90%?

rbj on November 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Louisiana should just ignore this dictate. Let DoJ sue them over it.

NotCoach on November 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Exactly. Why should California and other blue states (think refusal to obey immigration laws) have all of the fun?

Resist We Much on November 19, 2013 at 3:38 PM

Really, it needs to be asked why they’re so threatened by the idea of poor students getting a better education.

changer1701 on November 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM

I’m still waiting for the Stupid Party to aggressively and unambiguously campaign for the minority vote for this.

The Democrats depend on 80%+ margins from blacks to even remain competitive in elections. Wouldn’t it be nice to highlight one very important area where the Republicans are irrefutably on the side of poor blacks and even the official Black Community, and the Democrats are undeniably working against the interest of blacks and the poor?

“Republicans want to make sure your children, nieces and nephews go to a school that meets YOUR standards. Help the GOP pass school vouchers, so kids in X have the same opportunity as children in wealthy communities. Vote for Y on November Nth.”

No, instead, let’s protect Mitch McConnell from a primary challenge.

HitNRun on November 19, 2013 at 3:39 PM

The centerpiece of the Department of Justice’s ‘process’ is a requirement that the state may not tell parents, for 45 days, that their child has been awarded a scholarship while the department decides whether to object to the scholarship award. The obvious purpose of this gag order 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.

I’m no lawyer, but if they don’t require any other states to do this, for any scholarship, I don’t see how it will pass the judicial muster. Can it? Any lawyers out there want to weigh in?

I get where they set standards, but them choosing WHO gets the scholarship is a new one. I don’t think there is precedence.

If they go this route with Louisiana, they will have to do it for all states. I don’t think they will be pleased with that. there are quite a few that do the same thing.

Here is just CA:

California:

-Bay Area Scholarships for Inner-City Children (BASIC) Fund: Provides scholarships up to $1,600 per year for low-income students in the San Francisco Bay area who attend a participating school in grades K-8.
-Independent Scholarship Fund: Provides scholarships of $1,500 or three-fourths of the cost of tuition (whichever is less) for low-income students in Alameda and Contra Costa Counties in grades K-12. The program also provides scholarships on a merit basis.
-South California Children’s Scholarship Fund: Provides scholarships to low-income students in
San Diego County to attend participating private schools.
-Catholic Education Foundation: Provides scholarships to low-income and at-risk students in Los Angeles who attend schools of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles for grades Pre-K-12.
-The Guardsman Scholarship Fund: Provides scholarships to low-income students in the San Francisco Bay area that attend participating schools. The program is for grades K-12, but new
students must apply in grades K-6.
-SMART Program: Provides three-year scholarships to low-income students in San Francisco for grades 6-8.

Can someone say political bias.

Patriot Vet on November 19, 2013 at 3:40 PM

“The Department of Justice’s new Washington strategy to red tape and regulate the program to death.”

Okay that’s not really a “new” strategy for these tools.

onomo on November 19, 2013 at 3:42 PM

If I were Jindal, I would tell the DOJ to hang it in their ear and tell every parent when they’re eligible for a scholarship and let DOJ explain why they’re not. I’d also, if I were the Republicans in Congress, re-instate the DC choice program and let the Democrats, Obama and DOJ tell these kids they can’t go to better schools. Let them explain why they want an under-educated class of people in D.C.

bflat879 on November 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

If they don’t like your plan, you can’t keep it…one way or another.

stick on November 19, 2013 at 3:58 PM

the Obama administration is ditching their attempt to put a permanent stop to the program and is instead looking to require Louisiana to submit to a federal review process before handing out its scholarships

Louisiana to DOJ, “Go F#ck yourself.”

BacaDog on November 19, 2013 at 4:04 PM

Ignore the red tape and the other BS.

Keep calm and plow forward…

Kuffar on November 19, 2013 at 4:05 PM

That’s what happens when states, like individuals, accept “federal help” in the form of grants. The feds now have the power. It’s an old game which must end, “federal” money foe schools, roads, clean water etc.

FOWG1 on November 19, 2013 at 4:09 PM

Eric the Red strikes again.

I’m shocked, I tell ya. Shocked.

hillbillyjim on November 19, 2013 at 4:10 PM

Can someone say political bias.

Patriot Vet on November 19, 2013 at 3:40 PM

DOJ is trying to bootstrap this onto an old 1975 school desegregation order. They are claiming that the scholarship program will result in more concentration of minorities in the public schools. They dropped the injunction request because they knew they ould not prove this crazy theory with any actual evidence. Instead, now they want prior review of all scholarships so they can micromanage the racial composition of the schools and not allow too many black kids out of them. And it’s very possible a court will give it to them.

It’s all a ruse designed to slow down the movement of kids out of crappy public schools.

And of course, Democrats will do plenty of behind-the-scenes whisper campaigns about this within black communities around the country, telling people that the Republicans in Louisiana are “defying a court school desegregation order” and Bobby Jindal is just like George Wallace.

rockmom on November 19, 2013 at 4:17 PM

NotCoach on November 19, 2013 at 3:22 PM

Bingo.

Ignore the fed and do your thing Louisiana.

Zomcon JEM on November 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM

If I were Jindal, I would tell the DOJ to hang it in their ear and tell every parent when they’re eligible for a scholarship and let DOJ explain why they’re not. I’d also, if I were the Republicans in Congress, re-instate the DC choice program and let the Democrats, Obama and DOJ tell these kids they can’t go to better schools. Let them explain why they want an under-educated class of people in D.C.

bflat879 on November 19, 2013 at 3:43 PM

Yep.

DaveDief on November 19, 2013 at 5:01 PM

If the GOP ever wanted minorities to start paying attention to them, school vouchers for school choice is the absolute BEST TICKET to do it. Believe it or not for the minorities who vote, getting their kids into better schools REALLY matters to them.

The GOP should be able to easily showcase this position. But they won’t. Because they refuse to grow a pair.

goflyers on November 19, 2013 at 5:10 PM

Since when can the Federal Government tell the state of Louisiana (or any other state) how it spends state funds?

Gov. Jindal should send the checks out to whatever parents the administrators have found to be eligible according to state law. Let the DOJ try to sue all these parents to get the money back. Good luck with that, because the money doesn’t belong to the Feds, but to the State of Louisiana.

Steve Z on November 19, 2013 at 5:18 PM

Governor Jindal, in all seriousness, just ignore them! What do you think they’re going to do? Send in federal troops to forcibly remove kids (Elian Gonzalez style) from classrooms and take them back to the schools they came from? The optics on that would just be peachy, wouldn’t they?

Kafir on November 19, 2013 at 5:49 PM

So, in a nutshell, the Obama administration is ditching their attempt to put a permanent stop to the program and is instead looking to require Louisiana to submit to a federal review process before handing out its scholarships. How very magnanimous of them.

So basically, instead of demanding that the program be stopped, they’re just demanding that they be able to prevent the program from doing anything.

Yeah, that’s great news.

There Goes the Neighborhood on November 19, 2013 at 5:55 PM

And how many parents are going to apply for scholarships with the knowledge that it will be forwarded to the DoJ for review? I know I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole.

2nd Ammendment Mother on November 19, 2013 at 6:42 PM

will instead be seeking to require Louisiana to undergo a lengthy review process that submits information on every voucher application to the feds for approval before it can be awarded to the student.

WTF?

Screw you OBama loving liberals. What a bunch of dirtbags.

Liberals would rather kids get a terrible education than stand up to the unions. FU libs. FU.

CWchangedhisNicagain on November 19, 2013 at 6:47 PM

will instead be seeking to require Louisiana to undergo a lengthy review process that submits information on every voucher application to the feds for approval before it can be awarded to the student.

WTF?

Screw you OBama loving liberals. What a bunch of dirtbags.

Liberals would rather kids get a terrible education than stand up to the unions. FU libs. FU.

CWchangedhisNicagain on November 19, 2013 at 6:47 PM

…and Lois Lerner’s new job will be to warehouse process those applications.

slickwillie2001 on November 19, 2013 at 8:52 PM

When it comes to better education for our children, our Federal government does not have children’s best interests in mind.

The Department of Justice isn’t.

Turtle317 on November 20, 2013 at 4:47 PM