A lawyer for a leading proponent of Proposition 187 asked a Los Angeles Superior Court judge Thursday to order Los Angeles school officials to stop using public funds to fight the illegal immigration initiative in court.
Judge Robert H. O'Brien made no immediate decision on activist Glenn Spencer's request that the Los Angeles Unified School District be enjoined from participating in lawsuits against the popular but divisive ballot measure. But O'Brien, expressing skepticism toward the arguments of Spencer's attorney, Bruce Gleason, emphasized that the issue before him was not whether school officials are wise in litigating against Proposition 187 but whether they have the legal right to do so.
"This court's role is just to (determine) . . . if they're acting outside the scope of their authority," O'Brien said during a brief hearing on the request for a preliminary injunction. "It's as simple as that."
O'Brien is expected to issue his ruling today.
Hours after the initiative was approved by a 3-2 margin in November, the Los Angeles school district, along with the San Francisco Unified School District and the California School Boards Assn., filed a lawsuit in San Francisco Superior Court questioning the measure's constitutionality. That day, a judge agreed to temporarily bar the proposition's requirement that illegal immigrants be excluded from California public schools. The judge cited a 1982 U.S. Supreme Court decision that granted illegal immigrants the right to a free public education in Texas.