The Justice Department has dropped a lawsuit over the state of Louisiana's school vouchers program, requesting a federal review of the education initiative rather than pushing to halt it altogether.
The Obama administration had argued that the Louisiana Scholarship Program, which gives low-income families vouchers to send their children to private schools, might lead to the re-segregation of state schools.
Unable to put forward concrete proof for the claim, the Justice Department abandoned its lawsuit, United States District Court Judge Ivan Lemelle said Friday. However, the Obama administration is still calling for the district court to grant a federal review of the program — with a hearing for that request scheduled for Friday in New Orleans.
Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., who has turned the vouchers clash into a high-profile fight with the Obama administration, welcomed the dropped lawsuit.
“We are pleased that the Obama administration has given up its attempt to end the Louisiana Scholarship Program with this absurd lawsuit,” he said. “It is great the Department of Justice has realized, at least for the time being, it has no authority to end equal opportunity of education for Louisiana children.”
Under the Louisiana program, students can use taxpayer dollars to transfer from failing public schools to private schools. The overwhelming majority of those taking advantage of the public money are minority students, state data shows.
Republicans accused the Obama administration of meddling in how parents choose to educate their children, preventing students from attending schools they could otherwise not afford.
Jindal also vowed to resist the push for a federal review of the vouchers program.
“We will continue to fight, at every step, the Department of Justice’s new Washington strategy to red tape and regulate the program to death,” he said.
"The updated Department of Justice request reeks of federal government intrusion that would put a tremendous burden on the state, along with parents and teachers who want to participate in school choice,” he added.