Volume 79, Number 1

April 2004

Unequal Treatment in State Supreme Courts

Yohance C. Edwards, Jennifer Ahern

Minority and City Schools in Education Finance Reform Litigation

This Note’s primary purpose is to test Professor James Ryan’s assertion that at least two extra legal factors-the predominant race and setting of plaintiff school disricts-have an influence on the outcome of education finance reform litigation. Although the subject matter of this Note is education finance reform litigation, its findings may be significant to readers who have an interest in judicial decisionmaking as well. Yohance C. Edwards and Jennifer Ahern conduct a quantitative study that surveys the education finance reform litigation that has reached the respective state supreme courts of forty-one states. After analyzing the various factors that have been evaluated in previous quantitative studies of education finance reform litigation, the authors conclude that none of these factors explains why minority and city school districts fare poorly in this litigation. This Note is the first quantitative study of education finance reform litigation to include the number of plaintiff school districts as a variable. The authors find that along with race and school district setting, this variable does have an association with outcome. The authors conclude by discussing how the results of their study suggest that multiracial coalition building may be beneficial for all potential education finance litigation plaintiffs.