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Flunking DemocracySchools, Courts, and Civic Participation$
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Michael A. Rebell

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780226549781

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2018

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226549958.001.0001

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Advancing Civic Preparation through the Federal Courts

Advancing Civic Preparation through the Federal Courts

(p.151) Chapter Seven Advancing Civic Preparation through the Federal Courts
Flunking Democracy

Michael A. Rebell

University of Chicago Press

It is important for the federal courts, and, in particular, the U.S. Supreme Court, to promote preparation for civic participation because of the pre-eminent moral and political standing that the federal constitution has in our culture. A strong pronouncement on the schools’ constitutional responsibility to prepare students for civic participation by the U.S. Supreme Court would go far toward motivating states and school systems to adopt major reforms in this area, while leaving the details of standards and implementations to the local policymakers. The federal courts, like the state courts, might also consider more specific remedial orders in certain circumstances. The chapter proposes legal strategies for responding to the Supreme Court’s indication in Rodriguez that it might consider establishing a federal right to effective civic preparation as a fundamental interest for equal protection purposes in a future case. It also discusses additional legal theories based on the privileges and immunities clause of the Fourteenth Amendment and the republican guarantee clause of article four of the U.S. Constitution.

Keywords:   San Antonio v. Rodriguez, equal protection, privileges and immunities, republican guarantee clause, fundamental interest, constitutional litigation, Plyler v. Doe, positive rights, Parents Involved v. Seattle

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