Overturning a trial court ruling, the California Court of Appeal for the Second Appellate District held that teacher tenure laws are constitutional in the case of Vergara v. State of California, decided April 14, 2016.

The case involves nine public school students who challenged several provisions of California’s Education Code that govern K-12 public school teachers’ employment. The basis of the challenge is that the tenure, dismissal, and layoff laws result in grossly ineffective teachers being transferred to lower-performing schools with predominantly minority and low-income populations, rather than being terminated; and that; therefore, those students receive an inferior education.  Several associations representing school boards, school superintendents, and school administrators filed amicus briefs in support of the students’ position that the laws are unconstitutional.
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The recent death of conservative Justice Antonin Scalia will give public sector unions a short respite in Friedrichs v. California Teachers Association et al., a case that was likely to limit public sector unions’ ability to require mandatory fees from public workers. Following last month’s oral arguments before the High Court, many legal analysts expected a 5-4 opinion in Friedrichs, striking down mandatory union fees for public workers. Now, it is possible that the lower court ruling upholding the fees will remain in place.
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On April 30, 2014, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit reinstated a lawsuit filed by Plaintiff Ronald El-Malik Curtis against the City of Oakland, and several individual city officials on the ground that facially-neutral conduct could support a finding of racial animus sufficient to sustain a hostile work environment claim when