The Amicus Briefs

Before you dig into the briefs, GA would like to clarify the procedural history of this litigation.

I have heard, "why bother the BoE keeps losing..." That is not exactly true.

Yes, the Hoboken District School Board has lost every filing (100%) with Christie administration officials.

But, the Hoboken District has never lost in a court of law.

In short, on August 6, 2014 the Hoboken District filed a Notice of Appeal to the Appellate Division.

But on November 6, 2014, Christie administration officials at the NJDOE requested that the Apellate  remand the matter back to them.

On December 2, 2014, the Appellate granted the Christie administration  motion and remanded the matter back to them, dismissing the Appeal (before any briefs were filed.)

Just so we're clear and  on the same page, this matter has yet to be heard in court. 

On September 25, 2015 the Hoboken District School Board filed in Appellate court to reverse the Christie administration's March 20, 2015 decision allowing the renewal and expansion of HoLa Dual Language School.

On November 25, 2015, the America Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the Education Law Center (ELC) joined the Appellants as Amicus curiae. 

 ACLU-Education Law Center Amicus curiae

On January 27, 2016, Respondents HoLa Board Trustees submitted their opposition papers.

On January 28, 2016  The New Jersey Charter School Association (NJCSA) entered as Amicus curiae for Respondents.  Respondent Barbara Martinez sits on the Board of the New Jersey Charter School Association.

NJ Charter School Association Amicus curiae

On January 29, 2016, Respondent NJ Department of Education submitted their opposition papers.

GA believes that oral argument has not been scheduled.

From my own experience as a Bajardi SLAPP victim, the workings of the Appellate are opaque- at least compared to the trial court where the an online database is accessible to the public.

No such thing at the New Jersey Appellate, folks!  So, there you go.

Folks, whatever your opinion of the two arguments, all of the parents- HoLa and Hoboken district-  love their children and are acting on their behalf, and in the belief they have made the best choices for them.   


  1. Thanks for posting GA. Can you also post the briefs filed by the actual parties? At the end of the day this is a dispute between the HBOE, HoLa and the State DOE, not a dispute between the ACLU and the NJCSA. The amicus war is really sort of a side show to the main event.

    1. I will. Everything takes time to process. I have to extract the briefs. This would have gone up sooner but got drawn in repeatedly to the discussion.

      I disagree about the amicus being a sideshow- I think the NJCSA is a mouthpiece for the Christie administration and they have made all the decisions thus far. So the amicus is an insight into the prevailing view from the state. The ACLU amicus draws from similar battles occurring between charters and public school districts around the country, and argues from that wealth of experience for Hoboken.

  2. The granting and expansion of charters to schools that would not have met the very strict standards in years past is a strategy of today's Republican party, whose agenda is to ultimately privatize the nation's public school system. The Christie administration is merely doing its part.
    This is how something as ill-conceived as HoLa was born. These fraudulently-formed charter schools represent necessary steps toward that nefarious goal. We are all being duped.

    1. Elections have consequences and elected officials get to make policy. Christie is Governor of NJ because NJ voters elected him twice. His support for charters was hardly a secret to voters.

      The idea that Christie is somehow legally obligated to follow the same policies toward charters as his democratic or even republican predecessors because the people who voted against him thought the old policies were better is patently ridiculous.

      If you want the state's policies toward charters generally to change, litigations like this one are not necessarily the best means to achieve that goal. They are highly unlikely to succeed because whether you like it or not, the DOE has broad discretion and yes, their decisions are allowed to reflect the Governor's policies.

      The decision will stand unless the Court determines that it was arbitrary and capricious or completely indefensibly unreasonable. It does not matter if the judges would have made a different decision had they stood in the DOE's shoes. That is a very high standard of review, making this a difficult case to win. That doesn't mean the Board won't win, only that the odds are not in their favor.

      That is the reason why many who agree in principle with at least some of the policy objectives opposed litigating HoLa's expansion.

      If you want the policies to change, get out there and work your ass off to make Phil Murphy our next governor.

    2. That's your opinion. Many opposed the litigation, many support it, albeit afraid to speak up because of the lack of support the BoE got, in particular from our elected officials in City Hall including the Mayor. The entry of the ACLU is a 'game-changer' for the public opinion perspective, whether or not the Boe is successful.

      I believe your opinion about litigation is wrong. Litigation has, and will continue to effect state (and federal) policy with respect to our schools and for the greater good. The most famous example id Brown v Board of Education

      Brown v. Board of Education (1954), now acknowledged as one of the greatest Supreme Court decisions of the 20th century, unanimously held that the racial segregation of children in public schools violated the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. Although the decision did not succeed in fully desegregating public education in the United States, it put the Constitution on the side of racial equality and galvanized the nascent civil rights movement into a full revolution.

      You can speculate on the success or failure of the litigation, but that again is your opinion and some battles are worth fighting, win or lose.

    3. Anon at 8:49 is correct. The plan?

      1. Create as many charter schools as possible
      2. Underfund public schools
      3. Pit public school parents against charter school parents (where we are now).
      4. Hollow-out charter schools
      5. Admit defeat and allow for all schools to become privatized

    4. How is the ACLU an opinion game changer? The Charter parents and people who support charters aren't likely to be swayed any more than the people who oppose charters will be persuaded by the NJCSA's filing.

      And it's ironic that some are referencing the Brown v Board of Education decision when that decision was in favor of educational choices in the face of those who would force children to go to specific schools.

    5. Anon 10:50 Huh? That's not what Brown v. Bd. Ed was about at all. I guess you could say the choice was an issue in the sense of choosing to go to a white school versus the choice of keeping blacks kids out. Brown was about equal treatment and not allowing kids in the black only school to be mistreated and thus have an inferior education and be stigmatized for the rest of their lives. Separate is not equal. That's not ironic, that's on point.

      ACLU support for a position does effect the perception of non-entrenched opinions, either way. So, in that sense, and based on its history of protecting civil rights instead of protecting profits, the ACLU's presence is effective and a moral shot in the arm.

    6. Anon 9:30- Hit the Nail on the Head regarding power structures!

  3. comparing this case to Brown is kind of nutso and disrespectful to the real victims of real segregation. The ACLU brief spends alot of ink pointing out that real de facto segregation still exists in NJ where lots of blacks and latinos attend schools that are literally all black or all latino. They are correct that this is a travesty that must be forcefully addressed. The only trouble is that this has nothing to do with this case. Only one school in Hoboken actually creates the issue they describe and it ain't got nuthin to do with HoLa.

    1. That statement would ring true but for the fact that the parents who constantly disparage "that" school are a mere 2 blocks away at HoLa. That's choice in action. Having a separate school district 2 blocks away in the same town with dramatically different racial and socioeconomic demographics is Brown v. Bd. of Ed.


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