U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth B. Prelogar has filed a brief urging the Supreme Court to reject the review of a case concerning the legal status of charter schools.
The case in question is Charter Day School v. Peltier. It is essentially a dispute over whether a North Carolina charter school violated Title IX by enforcing a dress code that required girls to wear skirts instead of pants. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled that the charter school was a state actor and thus subject to government authority due to its public funding. (Charter schools are typically privately run but publicly funded.
The Biden administration argues that the 4th Circuit’s ruling was correct and that a finding of no state action would allow states to evade constitutional constraints by delegating core governmental functions to private entities:
“The court of appeals correctly held that CDS is a state actor when it enforces its student dress code. Public charter schools in North Carolina are units in the public-school system that the State created to fulfill its constitutional duty to offer a free, public education to its residents,” said the brief filed by the Justice Department. “In adopting and enforcing a student code of conduct, CDS is carrying out the State’s constitutional obligation and exercising authority conferred by the State to operate a state-chartered public entity. CDS is a state actor when it acts in that capacity.”
In a growing school choice environment, many experts expect the question of public funding and public accountability to become the next political battleground.