IDEA and Judge Gorsuch

by Darshan Jha

The father of student had testified against Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, claiming that his son’s education was threatened by Judge Gorsuch’s views. Defending the decision, Judge Gorsuch stated that he was bounded by the circuit precedent and he had apologized. However, the Supreme Court did not rule in whether the parents should be reimbursed.

At a time when there is a battle in the Senate to fill the 9th position on the Supreme Court, there are critics of Judge Gorsuch coming out on his previous rulings. Some of the critics against Judge Gorsuch have used his ruling on the Thompson R2-J School District v Luke P. In the court case, Judge Gorsuch had applied the “de minimis” standard and rejected the parent’s claim that the school didn’t provide enough for their son. The parents enrolled their son in a specialized school for children with autism and were asking for reimbursement of the costs because the parents claimed that the school was doing enough to provide a fair education.  The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 that the “de minimis” standard is a low standard and stated by Chief Justice Roberts:

“When all is said and done, a student offered an educational program providing “merely more than de minimis” progress from year to year can hardly be said to have been offered an education at all.”

This comes at a crucial time when the Education Secretary has been questioned on her policy as well the Trump Administration. Prior to this, the Education Secretary had suggested that the States are in charge of how to implement Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).


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