The 9th Circuit federal Court of Appeals ruled in an opinion handed down July 23 against Gov. Gavin Newsom’s (D-CA) executive orders to lockdown schools.
The 9th Circuit handles all direct appeals from the federal trial courts in California, and the only request from that court lies with the U.S. Supreme Court. The 9th Circuit has been known for many years as a court with a very pronounced leftward slant.
President Trump made great strides in judicial appointments throughout his term. His impact was likely felt most significantly on the 9th Circuit panel of judges, where he made several key appointments.
The court held that California deprived the parents of five students enrolled in private schools of their right to control their children’s education. The ruling finds that Newsom’s order closing private schools violates parents’ due process rights to determine where their kids will go to school.
In its opinion, the court stated:
“The Supreme Court has long held that ‘the right of parents to make decisions concerning the care, custody, and control of their children is a fundamental liberty interest protected by the Due Process Clause,’ and that right includes ‘the right of parents to be free from state interference with their choice of the educational forum itself.’
Because California’s ban on in-person schooling abridges fundamental liberty of these five Plaintiffs that is protected by the Due Process Clause that prohibition can be upheld only if it withstands strict scrutiny. Given the state closure order’s lack of narrow tailoring, we cannot say that, as a matter of law, it survives such scrutiny.”
The Center filed the lawsuit for American Liberty, which stated CEO Harmeet K. Dhillon, who wrote, “Today’s opinion from the Ninth Circuit is a huge victory for parents’ rights. The Ninth Circuit rightly ruled in parents’ favor, affirming that they and not Gavin Newsom or faceless bureaucrats have the right to decide how best to educate their children.”
The ruling did not affect the closure of public schools but left the way open for challenges of lockdown decisions for public education.
The adverse decision comes as Newsom is less than two months away from a recall election that could end his term as governor prematurely. Newsom’s lockdown policies have been a driving force of the recall effort, and last week’s decision creates another setback for his embattled administration.