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  1. Gradebook

Vouchers ‘fertile ground’ for Florida education lawyers, noted attorney says

The Supreme Court isn’t certain to rule for Republicans, veteran counsel Ron Meyer suggests.

When Gov. Ron DeSantis signed Florida’s newest voucher program into law Thursday, he also set the wheels in motion for a widely anticipated legal challenge.

Tallahassee lawyer Ron Meyer, who represented teachers in fighting the Opportunity Scholarship authorized by then-Gov. Jeb Bush more than a decade ago, said the conversations have already begun.

“I have a number of education organizations and institutions that certainly have asked me to explore the possibility of a challenge to that act,” Meyer said.

There’s no imminent action expected, he said. But “there’s a lot of fertile ground for lawyers on this.”

Meyer further suggested that the expectation that many people have voiced — that the new-look state Supreme Court would overturn the 2006 Bush v. Holmes case which deemed unconstitutional a very similar program to the newly established one — was presumptuous and even insulting to the justices.

“I believe the independence of the judiciary transcends politics,” Meyer said. “I believe the justices of the Supreme Court will not be moved by ideology ... and they will render decisions in the interest of a balanced government. To suggest that this is Gov. DeSantis’ court and it will uphold his policies is demeaning to the court.”

Anticipating a lawsuit, the Legislature included $250,000 to cover Department of Education “litigation expenses” in its budget proposal, which the governor has yet to approve.