The 5-4 decision involving a dispute in Montana appears to cast doubt on as many as 30 state constitutions that bar aid to religious schools.
The court rules that the decision to unwind deportation relief for nearly 700,000 undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children was done in an “arbitrary and capricious” manner.
The sweeping 6-3 civil rights ruling has implications for school districts as employers as well as for continuing legal battles over the rights of transgender students.
The doctrine known as “qualified immunity” is under scrutiny in the uproar over police misconduct. But public school employees are also among the government workers it shields from civil suits in federal court.
A pair of cases being heard by the high court will likely determine whether job-discrimination laws apply to tens of thousands of teachers at religious schools.
The decision by a federal appeals court recognizing the right to a basic minimum education may be felt far beyond the substandard Detroit schools underlying it, but hurdles could remain.
Researchers and experts say states have authority to shut schools down if needed in case of a health emergency like a pandemic, but in the words of one, it’s “not like turning a light switch on or off.”
In a case from Montana, conservative justices suggested they were inclined to rule for parents who seek to reinstate a state tax credit funding scholarships for use at religious schools.
Some educators and advocates fear the rule will dissuade immigrants from seeking certain government benefits, and that further burdens will fall on schools.
Advocacy groups that emerged in the wake of mass school shootings are urging the U.S. Supreme Court to broaden gun rights as the justices consdier a Second Amendment case.