Count 6

Count 6 - Defendant, State Attorney General Kamala Harris is the state's primary legal counsel. She has taken an oath to uphold and enforce the laws of the State fairly and impartially, so that every California can enjoy economic prosperity and equal opportunity. Her failure to enforce provisions in the California Constitution (the highest law in the State) as well as relevant Education Codes and case laws, deprives certain students of their ability to achieve equality of educational opportunity in violation of Article I § 7 of the California Constitution and Article 4 § 16 commonly known as the equal protection of the laws of California's Constitution.

1.     The Attorney General of California is the chief law officer of California and the state's primary legal counsel. [Article 6 of the California Constitution]. The Attorney General's Mission Statement can be found at: https://oag.ca.gov/office

The Attorney General represents the People of California. It is the Attorney General's job to:

Enforce and apply all our laws fairly and impartially.

Ensure justice, safety, and liberty for everyone.

Encourage economic prosperity, equal opportunity and tolerance.

Safeguard California's human, natural, and financial resources for this and future generations.

Failure to uphold and enforce the laws of the State fairly and impartially, so that every California can enjoy economic prosperity and equal opportunity, is facilitating the State's ability to act in a manner that deprives certain students of their ability to achieve equality of educational opportunity in violation of Article I § 7 of the California Constitution and Article 4 § 16 commonly known as the equal protection of the laws of California's Constitution.   

2.     Relevant Case Law: 

Source: Students Matter Vergara v. State of California

Relevant Case Lawhttp://studentsmatter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/SM_Vergara-Relevant-Case-Law_01.13.14.pdf

Final Judgement: http://studentsmatter.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/08/SM_Final-Judgment_08.28.14.pdf 

Brown v. Board of education (1954) 347 U.S. 483 

In Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U. S. 483 (1954), a unanimous US Supreme Court recognized that "education is perhaps the most important function of state and local governments." Id. at 347 U. S. 493.

"Compulsory school attendance laws and the great expenditures for education both demonstrate our [p30] recognition of the importance of education to our democratic society. It is required in the performance of our most basic public responsibilities, even service in the armed forces. It is the very foundation of good citizenship. Today it is a principal instrument in awakening the child to cultural values, in preparing him for later professional training, and in helping him to adjust normally to his environment. In these days, it is doubtful that any child may reasonably be expected to succeed in life if he is denied the opportunity of an education. Such an opportunity, where the state has undertaken to provide it, is a right which must be made available to all on equal terms." Id. at 493 (Emphasis added).   

California Constitution

Article 1, sec. 7(a): "A person may not be deprived of life, liberty, or personal property without due process of law or denied equal protection of the laws... ." 

Article 9, sec. 1: "A general diffusion of knowledge and intelligence being essential to the preservation of the rights and liberties of the people, the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement.

Art. 9 sec. 5.  The Legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be kept up and supported in each district at least six months in every year, after the first year in which a school has been established. 

 

Serrano v. Priest (1971) 5 Cal.3d 584 (“Serrano I”)  

In 1971, the California Supreme Court recognized for the first—but not the last—time that students have a fundamental right to equal educational opportunity under the California Constitution. In Serrano v. Priest (1971) 5 Cal.3d 584, 589 (“Serrano I”), California public school students and their parents brought a class action suit against state and local executive officers, challenging the constitutionality of the State’s public education financing system. According to the plaintiffs, the State’s school financing system, which relied heavily on taxes on local real property, resulted in wide differentials in the amount of money spent per pupil in wealthy school districts compared to poorer school districts. (Id. at p. 594.) The plaintiffs alleged that this disparity in expenditures “[f]ail[ed] to provide children of substantially equal age, aptitude, motivation, and ability with substantially equal educational resources.” (Id. at pp. 590 fn. 1, 591, 594.)  

The trial court dismissed the plaintiffs’ claims for failure to state a claim, but the California Supreme Court reversed the trial court’s decision on appeal. (Serrano I, supra, 5 Cal.3d at pp. 591, 619.) The California Supreme Court held that the plaintiffs had adequately pleaded that the public school financing scheme violated the equal protection clauses of the Federal and State Constitutions because the plaintiffs’ allegations—if proven to be true at trial—would demonstrate that the State’s school financing system “classifie[d] its recipients on the basis of their collective affluence and ma[de] the quality of a child’s education depend upon the resources of his school district and ultimately upon the pocketbook of his parents.” (Id. at 614.)  

In reaching its decision, the California Supreme Court found that education “is the lifeline of both the individual and society” and serves the “distinctive and priceless function” as “the bright hope for entry of the poor and oppressed into the mainstream of American society.” (Serrano I, supra, 5 Cal.3d at pp. 605, 608-609) The Court also noted that “unequal education . . . leads to unequal job opportunities, disparate income, and handicapped ability to participate in the social, cultural, and political activity of our society.” (Id. at pp. 606-07.) As a result, the Court held that education is a fundamental right under the Federal and California Constitutions. (Id. at pp. 605, 608-609.)  

Because the plaintiffs alleged that the State’s public school funding system classified students on the basis of wealth and impinged upon their fundamental right to education, the California Supreme Court applied a strict scrutiny analysis to the plaintiffs’ claims. (Serrano I, supra, 5 Cal.3d at p. 610.) The court found that the school financing laws at issue were not “necessary” to achieve any “compelling” state interest, and thereby failed under the strict scrutiny analysis. (Ibid.) As such, the Court remanded the case to the trial court to permit the plaintiffs to pursue their claims at trial and held that the laws comprising the State’s school financing system “must be found unconstitutional” if the plaintiffs’ allegations ultimately proved to be true. (Id. at p. 615.)

 

Serrano v. Priest (1976) 18 Cal.3d 728 (“Serrano II”)  

Following the California Supreme Court’s decision in Serrano I, the California Legislature amended the State’s funding scheme by making several “significant” legislative amendments intended to reduce the disparities in educational expenditures between poorer and wealthier school districts. [Serrano v. Priest (1976) 18 Cal.3d 728, 735, 743] (“Serrano II”). Notwithstanding these “improvements” to the State’s funding system, the trial court deciding the Serrano plaintiffs’ case—after conducting a 60-day trial—held that “substantial disparities in expenditures per pupil . . . [would] continue to exist” under the newly-modified funding system. (Id. at pp. 735, 746.) As a result, the trial court held that California’s school financing system “fail[ed] to provide equality of treatment to all the pupils in the state” and thus violated the equal protection rights of students under the California Constitution. (Id. at p. 747.)  

On appeal from the trial court’s holding, the defendants argued that a decision issued by the United States Supreme Court in a similar school funding challenge from Texas, San Antonio School District v. Rodriguez (1973) 411 U.S. 1, undercut the legal basis for the plaintiffs’ claims. (Serrano II, supra, 18 Cal.3d at pp. 761-764.) In San Antonio School District, which was issued after Serrano I, the United States Supreme Court held that education is not a fundamental right under the Federal Constitution. (Ibid.) However, the Serrano II court rejected the defendants’ arguments, noting that the California Supreme Court’s decision in “Serrano I was based not only on the provisions of the [F]ederal Constitution but on the provisions of [the] [California] Constitution as well.” (Id. at pp. 762.) For that reason, San Antonio School District had “no effect” on the Serrano I Court’s analysis of the California Constitution and did not diminish the viability of the plaintiffs’ claims. (Id. at p. 765.)  

Turning to the evidentiary record of the plaintiffs’ case, the Court found that the plaintiffs had presented “substantial and convincing evidence” at trial to show that the school funding system “suffer[ed] from the same basic shortcoming as” the financing system originally at issue in Serrano I—“to wit, it allow[ed] the availability of educational opportunity to vary” in substantial and unjustified ways. (Serrano II, supra, 18 Cal.3d at p. 768.) According to the Court, the funding system at issue both “involve[d] a suspect classification” and “affect[ed] the fundamental interest of the students of this state in education,” thereby warranting strict scrutiny analysis. (Id. at p. 766.)  

The California Supreme Court found that the defendants had failed to satisfy their heavy burden of showing that the laws at issue were “necessary to achieve a compelling state interest,” and held that the State’s public school financing system was unconstitutional under the equal protection clause of the California Constitution. (Id. at pp. 768-769, 767.)

 

Butt v. State of California (1992) 4 Cal.4th 66

In Butt v. State of California (1992) 4 Cal.4th 668, the California Supreme Court again evaluated whether certain State action violated the fundamental right to education guaranteed by the California Constitution. In Butt, California public school students and their parents brought an action against the State, State officials, and a local board of education, alleging that the Richmond Unified School District’s (“Richmond”) budget shortfall and decision to end the school year six weeks early violated the plaintiffs’ equal protection rights under the California Constitution. (Id. at pp. 673-675.) The trial court granted the plaintiffs’ request for a preliminary injunction and ordered the defendants to ensure that the plaintiffs would receive a full school term or its equivalent. (Id. at p. 673.) 

On appeal, the California Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s order granting the plaintiffs immediate relief. (Butt, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 674.) The Court explained that “the premature termination of the school term in Richmond would impose a “real and appreciable impact” on students’ fundamental right to basic educational equality because, among other reasons, the plaintiffs’ evidence showed that teachers would be unable to “complete instruction and grading essential for academic promotion, high school graduation, and college entrance” during the truncated school year. (Id. at p. 687.) According to the California Supreme Court, the anticipated school closures would impose a “severe and immediate academic disruption” on students. (Id. at p. 693.)  

In its defense, the State argued that—regardless of whether the plaintiffs could obtain their requested relief from Richmond—the State itself had satisfied its constitutional duties by apportioning funds equally amongst its school districts and that it could not be “constitutionally liable for how local officials manage[d] the funds.” (Butt, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 688.) The California Supreme Court rejected this argument, finding that “the State itself has broad responsibility to ensure basic educational equality under the California Constitution.” (Id. at p. 681.) Further, the Court held that the “State’s responsibility for basic equality in its system of common schools extends beyond the detached role of fair funder or fair legislator.” (Id. at p. 688.)  

Finally, the Court held that the plaintiffs had introduced sufficient facts to support a finding that strict scrutiny review should be applied to their claims, rather than a lower standard of review. (Butt, supra, 4 Cal.4th at p. 692.) The State proffered several alleged interests that it contended were served by the State’s “nonintervention” in Richmond’s budgetary crisis, but the California Supreme Court held otherwise, noting that the State had failed to identify any “compelling interest which negated its duty to intervene.” (Id. at p. 692.) As such, the California Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s finding that the plaintiffs’ claims had “probable merit” and affirmed the finding that a preliminary injunction was warranted. (Id. at p. 692 fn. 20, 694, 704.) 

2.     It is the job of the State's Attorney General to up hold and enforce the laws of the State of California. State Attorney General Kamala D. Harris has failed to up-hold her responsibility to the people of California by failing to enforce and up hold laws which would substantially improve the quality of education for every student. There is no remedy available to students and taxpayers within the State so long as the State can pick and choose which laws to enforce, and which people will have adequate representation in the courts. Defendant Kamala D Harris has breached her legal duty to:

Enforce and apply all our laws fairly and impartially.

Ensure justice, safety, and liberty for everyone.

Encourage economic prosperity, equal opportunity and tolerance.

Safeguard California's human, natural, and financial resources for this and future generations.

Students and taxpayers living in California have no remedy or relief from an oppressive State government that ignores its own laws, uses the public education system to justify the need for increased tax revenues, then redistributes revenues in a manner that promotes a political agenda (redistribution of wealth and entitlements for some at the expense of others). The State is failing and refusing to provide some students with the funding they are entitled to simply because of where they happen to live, and irrespective of their own wealth, race or ethnicity. The result is the deprivation of a students fundamental right to a basically equal opportunity to achieve a quality education. Due to the failure of the State Attorney General Kamala Harris to fulfill her duties as Attorney General, certain students and taxpayers are being denied their Constitutional right to equal protection under the laws which is a violation of the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as well as a violation of Article I § 7 and Article 4 § 16 of the California Constitution commonly known as the equal protection laws of California's Constitution.