J. Justin Wilson
J. Justin Wilson · June 9, 2014

Arlington, Va.— Today, three parents defending the school choice programs contained in the Alabama Accountability Act, and the state of Alabama, successfully obtained a stay from a Montgomery County Circuit Court ruling that had struck down the Alabama Accountability Act (AAA) as unconstitutional. The stay allows the AAA’s school choice programs—both its refundable tax credits and its scholarships— to continue operating while the Alabama Supreme Court reviews the trial court’s ruling.

“Today is another step towards victory for Alabama parents and students in the Alabama Supreme Court,” said Bert Gall, a senior attorney with the Institute for Justice. “The trial court’s ruling means that parents across the state can continue to rely on the Accountability Act’s school choice programs while this case moves forward on appeal.”

Today’s ruling comes shortly after three new families filed a motion to join the lawsuit alongside the other parents in the case. Their motion to intervene in the lawsuit at the trial court level was denied by the Circuit Court this morning, but they will appeal that decision to the Alabama Supreme Court.

The AAA is helping thousands of Alabama families with the financial assistance they need in order for their children to escape failing public schools. The Institute for Justice (IJ), a public interest law firm that represents parents participating in both of the Accountability Act’s school choice programs, is appealing the trial court’s decision declaring the AAA to be unconstitutional to the Alabama Supreme Court, alongside with the state.

“This is a great day for parents and kids all over Alabama,” said Dick Komer, an IJ senior attorney. “But we won’t rest until we’ve achieved final victory in this case before the Alabama Supreme Court.”

In October 2013, the Institute for Justice successfully moved to intervene in the union-led litigation in the Montgomery County Circuit Court in Alabama on behalf of three parents benefitting from the AAA’s refundable tax credits. IJ is also representing the three additional parents who are benefitting from scholarships created by the AAA.

The AAA was passed in 2013 by the Alabama Legislature. The Act offers a lifeline to families that would like to escape failing public schools but have lacked the financial resources to do so until now. The Act empowers these families through two ways: It provides parents and legal guardians whose children are assigned to failing public schools with refundable tax credits and it also provides individual and corporate taxpayers with tax credits for donations they make to qualified charitable organizations that award scholarships to similarly situated children.