Cloud of Injunction Lifted From Cleveland School Choice Program

John Kramer
John Kramer · December 3, 1999

Washington, D.C.-Following a massive public outcry and a rebuke from the U.S. Supreme Court, the plaintiffs in two consolidated lawsuits challenging the Cleveland school choice program stated yesterday they would agree to stay an injunction if they prevail in the lawsuit currently pending before U.S. District Court Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr.

“The wolf waiting outside the door has been muzzled,” declared Clint Bolick, litigation director for the Institute for Justice, which is defending the program on behalf of parents and children, working cooperatively with the state defendants. “We’ve said all along: let’s litigate this program without disrupting the children’s education.”

At the request of the plaintiffs, which include two teachers’ unions, the American Civil Liberties Union, People for the American Way, and others, Judge Oliver enjoined the program on the eve of its fourth year only hours before the start of the school year. He reversed most of his own order a few days later, but held out the threat of a further injunction when he ruled on the merits. The U.S. Supreme Court subsequently overturned the injunction in its entirety.

The plaintiffs’ statement was made by Robert Chanin, general counsel for the National Education Association, during a telephone status conference with Judge Oliver late yesterday. Judge Oliver said that a ruling in the case is his “highest priority.” The parties agreed to work in good faith to expedite an appeal to the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.