Alejandro Cruz-Guzman, as guardian and next friend of his minor children, et al., Respondents,
State of Minnesota, et al., Appellants, Higher Ground Academy, et al., Intervenors.
County District Court File No. 27-CV-15-19117
R. Shulman, Joy Reopelle Anderson, Richard C. Landon, Kathryn
E. Hauff, Gray, Plant, Mooty, Mooty & Bennett, P.A.,
Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondents).
Swanson, Attorney General, Karen D. Olson, Deputy Attorney
General, Kathryn M. Woodruff, Kevin A. Finnerty, Andrew
Tweeten, Assistant Attorneys General, St. Paul, Minnesota
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Larkin,
Judge; and Reyes, Judge.
based on a purported right to an education of a certain
quality under the Education Clause, article XIII, section 1,
of the Minnesota Constitution, are not justiciable.
challenge the district court's refusal to dismiss
respondents' class-action lawsuit, which claims that
appellants violated respondents' purported right, under
the Education Clause, article XIII, section 1, of the
Minnesota Constitution, to an "adequate" education,
that is, an education of a certain quality. Because
respondents' claims present a nonjusticiable political
question, we reverse.
are the parents of children who are enrolled, or expected to
be enrolled, in the Minneapolis public schools, Special
School District No. 1, and the St. Paul public schools,
Independent School District 625. Respondent One Family One
Community is a Minnesota nonprofit corporation located in
Minneapolis. One of its purposes is to "ensure and
provide for adequate educational opportunities for
economically-disadvantaged children and children of
November 2015, respondents sued appellants State of
Minnesota, Minnesota Department of Education, Minnesota
Department of Education Commissioner Brenda Cassellius, and
the Minnesota Senate and Minnesota House of Representatives.
Respondents also named Governor Mark Dayton, Senate President
Sandra L. Pappas, and House Speaker Kurt Daudt as defendants.
Respondents claimed violations of the Education, Equal
Protection, and Due Process Clauses of the Minnesota
Constitution, asserting that the children had been denied the
fundamental right to receive an education. Respondents also
claimed a violation of the Minnesota Human Rights Act,
asserting that the children have been unlawfully
discriminated against "in education on the basis of race
and status with regard to public assistance."
alleged that "[s]chool children in public schools
throughout the State of Minnesota, including the City of
Minneapolis, the City of Saint Paul, and their adjacent
suburban communities, are largely segregated by race and
socioeconomic status, " that appellants are allowing and
maintaining such segregated schools, and that the Minneapolis
and St. Paul public school districts have established
numerous "hyper-segregated schools" with the
knowledge and consent of appellants.
further alleged that their children received an inadequate
education as the "result of the educational and social
policies pursued or accepted by [appellants], including the
racial and socioeconomic segregation of the Minneapolis and
Saint Paul public schools." Respondents alleged that a
"segregated education is per se an inadequate
education under the Education Clause of the Minnesota State
Constitution" and that "[i]n addition to receiving
a racially and socioeconomically segregated education,
[respondents] are in fact receiving an inadequate education
by any objective measure or standard."
complaint sets forth data showing a racial achievement gap
among students in Minnesota, as well as achievement gaps
between students in Minneapolis and St. Paul public schools
and students in public schools in other parts of the state.
The data include standardized test scores and graduation
rates. The complaint alleges that these gaps are caused by
racial and socioeconomic segregation.
prayer for relief requests a judgment against appellants
"[f]inding, adjudging, and decreeing that [appellants]
have engaged in the violations of law set forth
hereinabove" and "[p]ermanently enjoining
[appellants] from continuing to engage in the violations of
law set forth hereinabove, ordering [appellants] to remedy
the violation of law set forth hereinabove, and ordering
[appellants] to provide the [children] forthwith with an
adequate and desegregated education."
moved to dismiss respondents' complaint under Minn. R.
Civ. P. 12.02 on the grounds that "(1) the Court lacks
jurisdiction over the subject matter; (2) the Complaint fails
to state a claim . . . upon which relief can be granted; and
(3) [respondents] failed to join a party pursuant to Minn. R.
Civ. P. 19." In the alternative, appellants asked the
district court to order respondents to provide a more
definite statement under Minn. R. Civ. P. 12.05.
district court dismissed the complaint as to Governor Dayton,
Senate President Pappas, and Speaker Daudt, concluding that
they are entitled to legislative immunity under the Speech or
Debate Clause of the Minnesota Constitution. The district
court also dismissed respondents' claim under the
Minnesota Human Rights Act, concluding that respondents
lacked standing. The district court otherwise denied
defendants' motion to dismiss ...