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Case Name NAACP v. DeVos ED-DC-0010
Docket / Court 1:20-cv-01996 ( D.D.C. )
State/Territory District of Columbia
Case Type(s) Education
Special Collection COVID-19 (novel coronavirus)
Attorney Organization Southern Poverty Law Center
Case Summary
COVID-19 Summary: This is an action filed on July 22, 2020 by advocacy groups, public school districts, and parents of children who attend public schools. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the U.S. Department of Education for creating an agency rule that conflicts with the ... read more >
COVID-19 Summary: This is an action filed on July 22, 2020 by advocacy groups, public school districts, and parents of children who attend public schools. Plaintiffs sought injunctive and declaratory relief against the U.S. Department of Education for creating an agency rule that conflicts with the text of the CARES Act. The court granted summary judgment for the plaintiffs on September 4, 2020 and vacated the new rule.


This case is about the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES ACT), which was passed by Congress in March 2020 to provide economic relief to citizens during the COVID-19 pandemic. Certain provisions in the CARES Act appropriated billions of dollars in funding for elementary and secondary schools. In April 2020, the Department of Education ("DOE") issued guidance about CARES Act funding for private schools, stating that funds should be used to serve all non-public school students and teachers without regard to family income, residency, or eligibility based on low achievement. In the DOE’s view, the CARES Act forbids differentiation between public and private schools. This position was made binding in July 2020 with an interim final rule.

The plaintiffs in this case--the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, public school districts, and parents of children who attend public schools--filed suit against United States Department of Education in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia on July 22, 2020. The case was assigned to Judge Dabney L. Friedrich.

On August 11, 2020, the plaintiffs moved for a preliminary injunction or, in the alternative, summary judgment. Plaintiffs asserted that the DOE’s actions were in violation of the separation of powers, that the formal rule created by the DOE violated the Spending Clause of the U.S. Constitution, and that the DOE violated the Administrative Procedure Act (APA) as an agency action not in accordance with law or statutory authority.

That same day, the plaintiffs also filed an amended complaint. This complaint added two additional APA claims: an arbitrary and capricious challenge and a challenge to the DOE's invocation of the "good cause" exception to notice-and-comment rulemaking. Since these two claims did not present pure questions of law, they were not consolidated into the expedited motion for summary judgment.

The defendants opposed the motion for summary judgment on the grounds that the plaintiffs did not show that the DOE acted without legal authority.

Judge Friedrich granted the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, vacating the DOE's interim final rule, on September 4, 2020. 2020 WL 5291406. Judge Friedrich determined that the CARES Act provided a particular formula for providing funds to private schools based on the number of children from low-income families. However, the CARES Act did not give the DOE discretion over any disbursements from any of the CARES Act’s provisions, so the DOE exceeded its authority in creating its formal rule about how funds are allocated. Because the APA fully resolved the plaintiffs’ motion for summary judgment, the Judge Friedrich did not to rule on any of the constitutional questions.

Nicholas Gillan - 10/07/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
General
Funding
Plaintiff Type
City/County Plaintiff
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Administrative Procedure Act, 5 U.S.C. §§ 551 et seq.
Ex parte Young (federal or state officials)
Defendant(s) Secretary of the United States Department of Education
Plaintiff Description The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, several parents of children who attend public schools, the Stamford Public School District, the Denver County School District No. 1, and the Pasadena Unified School District
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Southern Poverty Law Center
Class action status sought No
Class action status outcome Not sought
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Filed 07/22/2020
Case Ongoing No reason to think so
Additional Resources
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Court Docket(s)
D.D.C.
09/04/2020
1:20-cv-01996-DLF
ED-DC-0010-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D.D.C.
07/22/2020
Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 1]
ED-DC-0010-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/11/2020
First Amended Complaint [ECF# 35]
ED-DC-0010-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/24/2020
Defendants' Opposition to Plaintiffs' Request for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 46]
ED-DC-0010-0003.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
08/28/2020
Reply in Support of Plaintiffs' Motion for Partial Summary Judgment [ECF# 64]
ED-DC-0010-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/04/2020
Order [ECF# 77]
ED-DC-0010-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D.D.C.
09/04/2020
Memorandum Opinion [ECF# 78] (485 F.Supp.3d 136)
ED-DC-0010-0006.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Friedrich, Dabney Langhorne (D.D.C.) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0005 | ED-DC-0010-0006 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Plaintiff's Lawyers Baril, Jessica Reich (California) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Bischoff, Christine (Alabama) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Boyd, Samuel T.S. (Florida) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Dunn, Katherine (Alabama) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
El-Khouri, Adele M. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Godley, Tamerlin J (California) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Jackson, Bacardi (Florida) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Kravis, Jonathan Ian (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
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Lecker, Wendy (New Jersey) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Levin, Jessica Alexandra (New Jersey) show/hide docs
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Rubinstein, Lindsey (Mississippi) show/hide docs
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Tafelski, Michael Joseph (Alabama) show/hide docs
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Thoreson, David Patrick (California) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0001 | ED-DC-0010-0002 | ED-DC-0010-0004 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Davis, Ethan P. (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0003
Lane, William Kerwin III (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0003 | ED-DC-0010-9000
Morrell, David Michael (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0003
Ricketts, Jennifer (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-0003
Other Lawyers Berg, Luke N. (Wisconsin) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Bogin, Matthew B. (Maryland) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Burritt, Jeffrey William (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Duggins-Clay, Paige (Texas) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Fastiff, Eric B (California) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Goldstein, Jonathan S (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
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Henry, Britain (Pennsylvania) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Neeley, Steven A (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Snowden, Benjamin Lee (North Carolina) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000
Weckstein, Paul (District of Columbia) show/hide docs
ED-DC-0010-9000

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