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Supreme Court Hears Arguments on Special Education, Police Rights

The Supreme Court heard two notable cases this week, one involving lawyer rights for parents of special education students and the other on the constitutionality of police tactics in high-speed chases. The National Law Journal's Marcia Coyle details the arguments.

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    Yesterday and today, the high court heard arguments in cases that, while they won't decide major constitutional issues, may have practical application in Americans' everyday lives. NewsHour regular Marcia Coyle of the National Law Journal joins us to report on both.

    And today's case, Winkelman v. Parma City, seems to get right to the heart of whether regular people without a lawyer can petition the government for redress.

  • MARCIA COYLE, National Law Journal:

    Absolutely, Ray. This case rises under the federal law known as the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. That act gives money to states to help them provide a free and appropriate education to disabled children.

    It also sets up a process whereby parents who disagree with the plan a school district comes up with can go through a series of administrative hearings without a lawyer to challenge it.

    At the end of those hearings, if anyone is still dissatisfied, the law says any aggrieved party can bring an action into federal court. The issue before the court today was whether parents can go into federal court without a lawyer and bring that action.

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