Oral argument in Citizens for Strong Sch. v. Fla. State Bd. of Educ. was held on November 8, 2018. The 4-3 decision upheld a First District Court of Appeal ruling that the issue of adequacy in public education is non-justiciable, meaning that the Court cannot intervene in “political questions,” based on the doctrine of separation of powers. Read the opinion.
Justices Pariente and Lewis both wrote fiery dissents with all three dissenting justices concurring in each of the dissenting opinions (Pariente, Lewis and Quince).
Justice Pariente in her dissent wrote: “The plurality has abdicated its responsibility to interpret the constitution and eviscerated article XI, section 1 contrary to the clear intent of the voters. And, at the center of this dispute are the students who are at the greatest risk of failing—African-American students, Hispanic students, economically disadvantaged students and school districts, and students attending persistently low-performing schools.”
Additionally, Justice Lewis commented in his dissent: “The instant dispute is not about whether the education system is adequate; rather, we face the threshold question of whether that issue can even be considered and ruled upon by Florida courts. Our school system may or may not be adequate, but we will never know if the Court categorically relegates the question to an unreviewable status. In my view, justiciability is an excuse here to avoid a tough case in these education adequacy challenges, rather than sound legal reasoning based on a valid separation of powers analysis.”