Filed Date: Nov. 1, 2022
Clearinghouse coding complete
This is a case about free speech in a public high school's school-wide announcements at Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One week before Election Day, on November 1, 2022, the Skyline Republican Club ("the Club") and its president, a high school senior, filed a complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan against Ann Arbor Public Schools, the Skyline High School principal, and the Skyline secretary. The plaintiffs claimed their constitutional and statutory rights had been violated when the school refused the Club access to a school-wide announcement platform. The Club had submitted an announcement opposing Proposition 3, a ballot initiative that would add the right to reproductive freedom to the Michigan Constitution. The plaintiffs' announcement was rejected for being "political," while other student groups' political announcements, including announcements in favor of reproductive rights, were permitted. Represented by nonprofit conservative law firm the Thomas More Center, the plaintiffs claimed they were subject to viewpoint discrimination, prior restraint, and deprivation of equal rights in violation of the First and Fourteenth Amendments of the U.S. Constitution and the Equal Access Act. They sought declaratory and injunctive relief, nominal damages, and attorneys' fees.
The plaintiffs sought an emergency temporary restraining order that would require the school to deliver their announcement before November 8, the election day when Proposition 3 would be on the ballot. Under this tight time constraint, Judge Paul D. Borman held a hearing and found that the Club had a strong likelihood of success on its First Amendment claim of viewpoint discrimination: the Skyline administrators were suppressing an anti-Prop 3 message while facilitating a student walkout in support of Prop 3. On November 7, the court ordered the Club's announcement to be delivered before noon on Election Day. 2022 WL 16744371.
The case was reassigned to Magistrate Judge Jonathan J.C. Grey on December 7, 2022, upon the recusal of the prior assigned magistrate, Judge David R. Grand. As of January 4, 2023, the parties had proceeded to discovery. The case is ongoing.
Christina Van Wagenen (1/3/2023)
See docket on RECAP: https://www.courtlistener.com/docket/65652992/nielsen-v-ann-arbor-public-schools/
Last updated March 28, 2023, 3:02 a.m.
State / Territory: Michigan
Filing Date: Nov. 1, 2022
Case Ongoing: Yes
The Skyline Republican Club (a high school student organization in Ann Arbor, Michigan) and its president, a high school senior (suing through a parent)
Non-profit NON-religious organization
Public Interest Lawyer: Yes
Filed Pro Se: No
Class Action Sought: No
Class Action Outcome: Not sought
Ann Arbor Public Schools (Ann Arbor, Washtenaw), School District
Skyline High School (Ann Arbor, Washtenaw), School District
Causes of Action:
Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief
Prevailing Party: None Yet / None
Nature of Relief:
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief:
Order Duration: 2022 - 2022
Content of Injunction:
Type of Facility: