Monday, September 24, 2007

U. S. Supreme Court to Hear Another Special Education Case

The U. S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in yet another special education case on opening day of the new term, October 1st- the first Monday in October. The case is BOARD OF EDUCATION OF CITY OF NEW YORK V. TOM F., Docket No. 06-637 .

The issue presented is whether the parents of a child with a disability who has never received special education from a public school district may receive reimbursement for a unilateral placement of the child in a private school after denial of FAPE by the public school district. The case is an appeal from the decision of the US Circuit Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit holding that such reimbursement was an appropriate remedy, 106 LRP 48499 (2d Cir. August, 2006).

The Solicitor General, acting for the Justice Department, has filed a brief on behalf of the parent/student. Numerous groups have filed amicus briefs on behalf of both parties. Among the amicus briefs for the school district were those filed by the National School Boards Association, the National Association of State Directors of Special Education. The parents amici included the Council of Parent Attorneys and Advocates and Autism Speaks.

This will be only the tenth special education decision by the supremes. The recent flurry of activity, this will be the fourth opinion in the last three years, definitely indicates an increased level of interest in this now hot area of law. Although it would be more helpful if the Court provided guidance on a less tangential issue, like least restrictive environment for example, it is still exciting for special education law junkies.

After all what other area of law could bring Scalia and Ginsburg together?


  1. Great to find another special ed law blog.

    This latest Supreme Court Case decision will be intrguing indeed.

    Intriguing also is to see Autism Speaks involved.

  2. Thanks.

    Are you involved with Autism Speaks?

    I'll be at the Supreme Court tomorrow, and will post soon afterward.

  3. Sounds good Jim. I am a little jealous that you will be there. I will be looking forward to your analysis afterward.

  4. Hey Justin,

    Yes another oddball issue, but some S Ct opinion is better than none.