Upon its formation in 2016, NJCDIS set out to redress the intense racial and economic segregation in New Jersey public schools through community outreach, education, and collaboration with government officials. Concluding that the intolerable level of segregation in New Jersey could only be redressed by legal action, the NJDCIS began to coordinate efforts to file a lawsuit against the State of New Jersey.
On May 17, 2018, the 64th anniversary of the landmark U.S Supreme Court case Brown v. Board of Education, which ruled government-mandated segregation of students unconstitutional, a complaint was filed in Mercer County Superior Court against the state of New Jersey claiming that persistent segregation has violated the constitutional rights of hundreds of thousands of New Jersey’s students. The plaintiffs, the Latino Action Network, the NAACP New Jersey State Conference, the Latino Coalition, the United Methodist Church of Greater New Jersey, the Urban League of Essex County, and seven children of various racial backgrounds, allege that New Jersey has been “complicit” in creating and maintaining “one of the most segregated public-school systems in the nation.”
On September 27, 2019, the plaintiffs filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the issue of liability, asking the Superior Court in Mercer County to rule based on undisputed facts that the existing levels of racial segregation in New Jersey’s public schools violate provisions of the New Jersey Constitution and New Jersey Statutes as a matter of law, eliminating the necessity of a trial on the question of liability.
On January 10, 2020, the court ordered the plaintiffs to notify all school districts in the state that they could join the litigation.
Oral arguments on the Motion for Summary Judgment are scheduled for March 3, 2022.