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Marilyn Morheuser, the lawyer who led the challenge to overturn the New Jersey education-funding system, died of cancer Oct. 22 at her Newark, N.J., home. She was 71.

Ms. Morheuser became the executive director of the Education Law Center, a Newark-based public-interest organization in 1979. In 1981, she acted as the center's lead counsel for the plaintiffs in Abbott v. Burke, the challenge to New Jersey's school-finance statute. The suit argued that the Quality Education ACT of 1980 failed to meet the needs of disadvantaged children. The New Jersey Supreme Court ruled for the plaintiffs in 1990.

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