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Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

Judicial Watch, Inc. is a conservative, non-partisan educational foundation, which promotes transparency, accountability and integrity in government, politics and the law.

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Judicial Watch Asks Minnesota Supreme Court to Allow Taxpayer Lawsuit over Racially Discriminatory Minneapolis Teachers’ Contract to Proceed to Trial

(Washington, DC) – Judicial Watch announced today it filed a brief in the Minnesota Supreme Court asking it to affirm a state Appeals Court decision allowing its taxpayer lawsuit over a racially discriminatory Minneapolis teachers’ contract to proceed to trial (Deborah Jane Clapp v. Rochelle Cox et al. (No. A23-0360).

On December 4, 2023, the Minnesota Court of Appeals ruled in favor of Judicial Watch’s historic lawsuit filed on behalf of a Minneapolis taxpayer over the teachers’ contract, and allowed the case to proceed to trial. The contract provides discriminatory job protections to certain racial minorities (Clapp v. Cox et al. (No. 27-CV-22-12454)).

Judicial Watch originally filed the lawsuit in August 2022 against the superintendent of the Minneapolis Public Schools, the Minneapolis Public Schools, and the Minneapolis Board of Education (together referenced as “MPS”) for violating the Equal Protection Guarantee of the Minnesota Constitution. MPS, supported by the teachers and other public employee unions, assert that Minnesota taxpayers don’t have to right to challenge the illegal spending of taxpayer money by government officials.

In its brief to the Supreme Court, Judicial Watch states:

Minneapolis Public Schools and its Amici spill a lot of ink complaining that a “complete stranger” has sued to prevent MPS from carrying out an unconstitutional provision of a contract between it and its teachers. Plaintiff-Respondent Deborah Clapp, however, is not a stranger. She is a Minneapolis taxpayer, and this Court, since at least 1877, has recognized taxpayers as proper parties to bring such actions in Minnesota courts. This Court should not accept MPS’s and its Amici’s invitation to undermine this important check on government power.

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Clapp could not have brought a more straightforward case. She alleges that she lives in Minneapolis and pays property tax on the home she has owned since 2017…She also alleges that Minneapolis Public Schools is funded in part by her tax dollars…In addition, she alleges that MPS spends those tax dollars to carry out the various provisions of its contract with the teachers’ union….Finally, she alleges that one of those provisions violates the Minnesota Constitution….Therefore, she alleges that her tax dollars are being used in an unlawful manner.

The December 2023 Appellate Court ruling came after the Hennepin County District Court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that Judicial Watch’s taxpayer client lacked standing and that her claims were not ripe. Judicial Watch appealed, and the Minnesota Court of Appeals overturned the lower court’s dismissal of the case.

The controversial contract was agreed to in March 2022 to end a 14-day teacher strike. The Minneapolis Federation of Teachers ratified the contract shortly after the agreement was reached. The Minneapolis Board of Education ratified it in May 2022.  The contract was recently renewed with the racial discrimination provisions intact.

Judicial Watch’s initial complaint asked the District Court to enter a judgement declaring all actions taken to implement the racial and ethnic preference provisions of Article 15 of the contract to be illegal. The lawsuit also asks that the court declare illegal the use of any taxpayer dollars to implement these provisions of the contract and that MPS be prohibited from taking any actions to implement these racial and ethnic provisions. The Judicial Watch complaint states:

Among other things, the contract provides preferences, protections, and privileges for MPS teachers of certain races and ethnicities under a section entitled “ARTICLE 15. PROTECTIONS FOR EDUCATORS OF COLOR.” There is no similar provision covering educators who are not “of color.”

Under the contract, teachers of color are exempt from Defendant MPS’s seniority-based layoffs and reassignments, which means, when layoffs or reassignments occur, the next senior teacher who is not “of color” would be laid off or reassigned. In addition, the contract mandates that Defendants reinstate teachers of color over more senior teachers who are not “of color.”

Under the appeals court ruling, the lawsuit was to go back to Hennepin County District Court for further proceedings, but MPS appealed the case to the Minnesota Supreme Court before those proceedings could commence.

“There is a leftist cadre of government and public employee union officials in Minneapolis who want to engage in lawless woke, anti-white discrimination – and they want deprive taxpayers of their rights to stop the abuse” said Judicial Watch President Tom Fitton. “The lawsuit aims to shut down an extreme leftist attack on the bedrock constitutional principle that no one can be denied equal treatment under the law on account of race.”

Judicial Watch is being assisted in the lawsuit by Daniel N. Rosen.

Judicial Watch lawsuits and FOIA requests on Critical Race Theory and other leftist extremism are extensive.

In April 2024, Judicial Watch presented oral argument to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in the case filed on behalf of Kari MacRae, a Massachusetts high school teacher who was fired in retaliation for posts on social media that predated her employment at Hanover High School.

On February 5, 2024, Judicial Watch filed a public records lawsuit in the Superior Court for Suffolk County, Massachusetts, against the City of Boston after the city failed to produce records related to the “Electeds of Color Holiday Party” hosted by Boston Mayor Michelle Wu in December 2023.

On January 29, 2024, Judicial Watch filed a lawsuit on behalf of San Francisco taxpayers over a city program that discriminates in favor of biological black and Latino men who identify as women in the distribution of tax money. The lawsuit was filed after Judicial Watch earlier forced the release of records from the City of San Francisco showing the city prioritized tax money for black and Latino transgenders (biological men) in the (GIFT) program.

In July 2023, Judicial Watch exposed records from the United States Air Force Academy (USAFA), a component of the United States Department of Defense, which included instructional materials and emails that address topics such as Critical Race Theory, “white privilege,” and Black Lives Matter.

In March 2023, records from the U.S. Department of Defense showed the U.S. Air Force Academy (USAFA) has made race and gender instruction a top priority in the training of cadets.

Judicial Watch filed a California Public Records Act lawsuit against the Oakland Unified School District for records on a racially segregated “playdate” held on August 26, 2023, by one of the district’s elementary schools.

The City of Asheville, NC, in January 2022 settled a Judicial Watch federal civil rights lawsuit after agreeing to remove all racially discriminatory provisions in a city-funded scholarship program. Additionally, the city also agreed to remove racially discriminatory eligibility provisions in a related program that provides grants to educators.

In May 2022, Judicial Watch won a court battle against California’s gender quota law for corporate boards. The verdict came after a 28-day trial. The verdict followed a similar ruling in Judicial Watch’s favor in April finding California’s diversity mandate for corporate boards unconstitutional.

 

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