Judicial Watch Sues Maryland School over In-State Tuition Benefits for Illegals

Judicial Watch Sues Maryland School over In-State Tuition Benefits for Illegals

Judicial Watch filed a new brief in our taxpayer lawsuit against Maryland’s Montgomery College over the school’s unlawful policy of charging discounted “in county” tuition rates to students who graduate from Montgomery County public high schools, regardless of their place of residency or immigration status. 

As I reported to you some time ago, on August 16, 2011, the Circuit Court for Montgomery County, Maryland, dismissed Judicial Watch’s lawsuit, filed on behalf of three Montgomery County taxpayers, prompting an appeal to the Court of Special Appeals in Maryland.

Our lawsuit alleges that Montgomery College’s tuition policy violates both Maryland and federal law and places a substantial financial burden on Montgomery County taxpayers, who must subsidize the cost of students attending the community college:

Plaintiff’s lawsuit alleges Defendant’s policy is illegal and ultra vires (beyond the scope of legal authority) under both Maryland and federal law. Plaintiff’s lawsuit also alleges that Defendant’s illegal and ultra vires tuition policy has caused and will continue to cause taxpayers to suffer pecuniary injury.

The Circuit Court for Montgomery County dismissed Plaintiff’s lawsuit in a ruling that seriously erodes the rights of Maryland taxpayers to challenge illegal and ultra vires acts by Maryland public officials.

The Circuit Court ruling, which dismissed the lawsuit on the technical grounds that Judicial Watch’s taxpayer clients did not have the right to challenge the policy, is “in contravention of more than 150 years of precedent,” Judicial Watch argues. Long-standing and well-established law in Maryland authorizes taxpayer plaintiffs to bring suit to “enjoin illegal…acts of public officials where those acts are reasonably likely to result in pecuniary loss or an increase in taxes.”

In this state the Courts have always maintained with jealous vigilance the restraints and limitations imposed by law upon the excise of power by municipal and other corporations; and have not hesitated to exercise their rightful jurisdiction for the purpose of restraining them within the limits of their lawful authority, and of protecting the citizen from the consequence of their unauthorized or illegal acts.

And how much is this tuition policy costing Maryland taxpayers? About $7,940,374 and rising.

That’s how much we allege Montgomery College failed to collect in tuition and fees in the four academic years between 2007 and 2010 because of the policy, causing “substantial pecuniary losses to taxpayers.” During the course of the lawsuit, the college admitted that its policy had been in place since at least as early as 2002.

So clearly, Montgomery College’s tuition policy is not only unlawful, it also is a shameless waste of taxpayer resources at a time when citizens can ill afford it.

The Circuit Court was wrong to dismiss this case without considering the merits of the arguments. Our taxpayer clients deserve their day in court to uphold the rule of law in Maryland. The Circuit Court’s decision flies in the face of binding precedent in the State of Maryland that allows citizens to challenge the illegal expenditure of taxpayer funds. The College just doesn’t seem to care about the law.

But we do. And we’re hoping to go two-for-two on the issue of discounted tuition for illegal aliens.

In February, Judicial Watch earned a key victory on behalf of its client in the effort to stop unlawful tuition benefits for illegal aliens. The Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County ruled that the Maryland Dream Act can be subject to referendum on the 2012 ballot in Maryland. Illegal immigration lobbyists wanted to silence the voices of Maryland taxpayers fed up with subsidizing illegal alien education, but to no avail. Voters will get their chance to vote down these subsidies this November.