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Oral arguments before the Connecticut Supreme Court were heard in CCJEF v. Rell on April 22, 2008.
The Connecticut Supreme Court now faces an historic question: Do schoolchildren have the right to an adequate education?
CCJEF argues that under the constitution’s education clause, children do indeed have the right to a meaningful, quality education consistent with the needs of today’s competitive economy, the rigors of higher education, and full participation in a democratic society.
The State argues that there is no such constitutional right, that its duty to schoolchildren is minimal and that so long as education is free and “equally inadequate,” there’s no reason for the courts to intervene in matters that ought to be left to the discretion of the other two branches of state government.
The Court’s decision is expected soon.
COMING SOON…Video of the oral arguments and press conference.
Seven months ago Superior Court Judge Joseph Shortall gutted a lawsuit aimed at fixing the badly broken education cost sharing (ECS) formula the state uses to fund its public schools. This week two Yale Law School students asked the justices of the Supreme Court to restore the full lawsuit, saying the trial court “prematurely decided the case.”
The law students, David Noah and Neil Weare, are members of the Yale Law Education Adequacy Project, a clinic type class that brought the lawsuit in 2005 on behalf of Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding (CCJEF). Several major cities and towns have joined the lawsuit. At this juncture, only one of four counts in the complaint remains.
Noah and Weare, both 27, sat at a table Monday in the well of the courtroom along with their professor, Robert Solomon. The class works under the supervision of Solomon and two attorneys, Robin Golden and Alex Knopp.
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) – After years of preparation, two products of Yale Law School – a pricey, powerhouse program – stood before the Connecticut Supreme Court on Tuesday, arguing on behalf of the poorest public school students in one of the country’s richest states.
Plaintiffs’ legal fees for the case brought the Connecticut Coalition for Justice in Education Funding would have cost an estimated $5 million to $7 million if handled by private lawyers.
Yale law students Neil Weare and David Noah and a dozen classmates spent thousands of hours interviewing plaintiffs, conducting research, drafting briefs and developing oral arguments, for free.
“We had a healthy sense of nerves,” Weare said. “When you have potentially the future of Connecticut’s schoolchildren resting on this argument today, there’s a lot riding on it.”