The high-powered legal team supporting the plaintiffs in Vergara v. California has filed its first brief in response to an appeal to last year’s ruling.
The ruling struck down state laws governing teacher tenure, due process, and layoffs. Both the state and the state teachers’ unions subsequently filed an appeal.
The respondents’ brief is pretty complicated, but the overall gist of is that it tries to counter the unions’ claims that the students in question didn’t have standing to bring a case, that prior case law was misapplied, and that the laws in question didn’t set out to discriminate against particular groups of students. Instead, the plaintiffs argue, the weight of the testimony showed that poor and low-income students face the threat of substantial harm due to these laws.
The most interesting new wrinkle here concerns a new Calif. law, AB 215, that was approved shortly after the verdict. Unions have claimed that the legislation renders the entire suit moot, since it aims to slim the amount of time for a dismissal hearing. But the plaintiffs contend that the law potentially makes dismissal even harder. It doesn’t state what happens if the deadlines are ignored, for instance, leaving open the possibility that any such hearing would have to be relitigated from scratch.
Oral arguments in the appeal are expected by late September and a final ruling no later than January 2016.
Read the respondents’ brief below.
A version of this news article first appeared in the Teacher Beat blog.