Capital News Article

Yeager, Amanda, Senate passes bill to change makeup of school board nominating panel, March 31, 2016.

Snider Comment

Since the SBNC legislation was originally passed in 2007, I have consistently argued that it may violate the Equal Protection Clause of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment (I most recently brought this up at the SBNC’s March 14, 2016 public hearing; see the concluding paragraph in The response has always been a snicker. Yet I have never received what I would consider to be close to a well-reasoned defense, even when I’ve raised the argument with Maryland General Assembly members and the Office of Maryland’s Attorney General. Nor would I say that I’ve met a single one of them familiar with the Equal Protection line of court cases beginning in the early 1960s and gradually expanded over the years to include entities such as the AACPS Board of Education. Whatever Equal Protection problems the original SBNC legislation had, the Equal Protection problems in the legislation just passed are much worse. Alas, it is very expensive to bring Federal court cases. Disenfranchised parents and citizens more generally have severe collective action problems and cannot afford to bring such cases. Only well-organized groups can usually afford to do so. Now that the structure of the SBNC has finally become a high profile issue, perhaps the incentives will change enough to motivate some entity to seek an injunction to prevent this enhanced Equal Protection violation from being implemented.