School of Education News

Underwood examines important Supreme Court rulings for education in latest ‘Under the Law’ column

September 07, 2018

UW-Madison's Julie Underwood takes a look back at some important Supreme Court rulings for education over the past year in her latest “Under the Law” column for Phi Delta Kappan magazine.

Underwood is the Susan Engeleiter Professor of Education Law, Policy and Practice, and the former dean of the School of Education.

Underwood explains that at the end of the tumultuous 2017-18 Supreme Court term, " the Court handed down a few cases of importance to public education, including one entitled ‘Janus.’ Then, of course, we received the news that Justice Anthony Kennedy was resigning from the bench after 30 years. Justice Kennedy has been an important figure on the bench as author of many landmark opinions, including two outlined below. Generally conservative, but with a libertarian streak, he often has been a swing vote between the traditional liberal and conservative factions.”

Underwood goes on to add how, on July 9, President Donald Trump “announced Brett Kavanaugh from the U.S. Court of Appeals, a conservative with a long track record in Republican politics and on the bench, as his nominee to replace Justice Kennedy. The replacement of a justice has incredible importance to the Court and to the law. In the current political environment, the nomination and confirmation process is bound to be dynamic.”

Underwood then goes on to examine three decisions from the most recent term that are of particular relevance to education: “Janus v. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees Council 31;” “South Dakota v. Wayfair, Inc.;” and “Lozman v. City of Riviera Beach."

To learn much more about this topic, check out Underwood’s entire column for free on this Phi Delta Kappan magazine web page.

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