California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) claimed that the state was following the science when it introduced a pandemic-related rule that a court recently struck as unconstitutional.
What he said: “Throughout this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic, the state was guided by science and data — prioritizing the health and safety of students, staff, and their families while supporting schools to meet the needs of students and return to in-person learning quickly,” the governor’s office said in a statement to the Los Angeles Times. “All students are returning to full, in-person instruction next year, and the state is focused on ensuring that return is successful.”
How we got here: The U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circut on Friday ruled that Newsom’s mandate that barred private schools from offering in-person lessons was unconstitutional.
The mandate was challenged by the Center for American Liberty and 20 other plaintiffs that barren in-person teaching in 32 counties. It affected 80% of school children in Califronia.
Five of the plaintiffs argued that the governor overstepped his authority.
The ruling: The court agreed that Newsom was wrong to deny private-school parents control over their children’s education.
“California’s forced closure of their private schools implicates a right that has long been considered fundamental under the applicable caselaw — the right of parents to control their children’s education and to choose their children’s educational forum,” Judge Daniel Collins of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals wrote for the majority in the ruling.
“[T]he private-school Plaintiffs have established that the State’s prohibition on in-person instruction deprives them of a core right that is constitutionally protected,” the court said.“As with its rigidly overbroad approach to religious services, California once again failed to ‘explain why it cannot address its legitimate concerns with rules short of a total ban.'”
Worth noting: The court ruled against 14 parents and one student who challenged a previous ruling, saying that the ruling for private schools does not hold for public school parents.
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