LOS ANGELES – A New Mexico state court today rejected an argument by state officials that they had complied with a historic 2018 education ruling and should be released from a court’s order.
Earlier this year, New Mexico officials asked the court to dismiss the case, arguing the state had satisfied the court’s judgment and made sufficient changes to the public school system.
The ruling comes nearly six years after MALDEF (Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund) successfully sued state education officials for violating low-income, disabled and English-learner students’ fundamental right to a uniform and sufficient education as required under New Mexico’s Constitution. The case, known as Martinez v. State New Mexico, was the first of its kind in the state.
In Monday’s ruling, First Judicial District Court Judge Matthew Wilson also granted a request from MALDEF and co-counsel, Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP, to conduct discovery in order to determine what New Mexico has done since the 2018 ruling. The judge, however, denied as premature a request by the New Mexico Center for Law and Poverty, representing the Yazzie plaintiffs, to adopt a plan for compliance.
Please attribute the following statement in Martinez v. State of New Mexico to Ernest Herrera, staff attorney at MALDEF:
“Today’s ruling recognizes that the state’s obligation to fix a broken education system goes beyond additional spending and must address the systemic failures that have deprived public school students of a meaningful education and future. The court’s decision to grant MALDEF’s motion for discovery will play an important part in understanding whether the state is truly serious about complying with the court’s order and New Mexico’s Constitution.”
Please attribute the following statement to Martin Estrada, of Munger, Tolles & Olson LLP:
“We are heartened by the court’s ruling, The State’s effort to prematurely dismiss this matter, after so much work and effort had been put into the case, was a disappointment. Fortunately, the court chose to maintain jurisdiction in order to see out the essential work of ensuring that all children in New Mexico are given the opportunity to obtain a sufficient education.”
Read a timeline of the case HERE.