Courts As Policymakers: School Finance Reform Litigation by Anna Lukemeyer

By Anna Lukemeyer

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O’Neill (Connecticut 1996), a suit in which plaintiffs raised (and the dissent Research Questions and Methods 27 number of potentially confounding factors resulting from procedural and doctrinal differences in litigation based on different claims, or litigation conducted in lower rather than higher courts. 22 discussed) many of the issues of school finance litigation but in which the majority ruled for plaintiffs on the basis of their racial and ethnic segregation claims; Alabama Coalition for Equity v.

After the initial period, as I encountered situations that presented issues for coding, I incorporated my resolution into the coding rules as a reference for future cases. In addition, several months after I had initially coded them, I coded three randomly selected cases again as an intra-coder reliability check. I then used results of this check to identify and rectify, as much as possible, problems in the coding process. Specifically, I reviewed (and modified when necessary) the coding of two groups of cases identified as particularly troublesome: (1) the first 16 cases that I coded as my coding scheme was being developed, and (2) cases in which the court combined analysis of equal protection and education clause claims rather than analyzing these separately.

All of the opinions in Robinson v. Cahill (as characterized by the series codes) represent one of the 38 cases reported, and all of the opinions in Abbott v. Burke constitute another case. The exception to the practice of treating independent cases separately consists of two school finance reform cases in the State of New York brought by separate plaintiffs: Campaign for Fiscal Equity, Inc. v. State (1995) and Reform Educational Financing Inequities Today v. Cuomo (1995). The New York high court issued its opinions in these two cases on the same day, and each developed the same legal principles.

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