Substance Appeal Brief Available Online
The Substance appeal brief and the Chicago Teachers Union's brief in amicus curiae are posted on the Website of the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court Appeals. You can access these long documents as follows:
Go to the Seventh Circuit Website:
go to cases
and then type in the case number
This will bring you to "Chicago School Reform Board of Trustees v. Substance and George N. Schmidt" where you can download, as PDF files, both the brief on appeal and the brief filed Thursday on behalf of the Chicago Teachers Union.
Since being sued by the Chicago Schooll Reform Board of Trustees, an Illinois municipal corporation (and subsequently fired from his 30-year teaching job), George Schmidt has said that the legal precedent governing his situation had been clearly established in the
1971 Pentagon Papers case. Government cannot censor a newspaper, and prior restraint is a violation of the First Amendment.
We owe it to George--and to ourselves--to take the time to read the details of what this means. You can now access the two legal briefs in the federal court record, then read the newspaper that prompted it all.
George Schmidt notes, "For four-and-a-half years --literally until last week--it
was illegal for me to give you a copy of the January February 1999 issue of Substance. Had I done so, I could have been jailed in federal contempt. Although I
was tempted many times to do so, I realized that the ruthlessness of those who were attacking us might keep me in jail so long that our newspaper collapsed and my family was ruined completely.
"All those who subscribe to the print edition of Substance will soon be receiving a souvenir copy of the newspaper Chicago banned for longer than it took us to win the Civil War. That fact is scandalous and one of the most damning
indictments of corporate 'school reform.'
"If you wish a copy of that newspaper, you can find it in the public record in the Additional Appendices filed with the Seventh Circuit in Chicago. Read it for yourself and after reading it tell me if those CASE tests were defensible.
It was always your right to read those things, as well as my opinions about them. Thanks to Richard M Daley (Chicago's mayor), Paul Vallas (who is now running the Philadelphia schools based on the same lies he got away with here),
Gery Chico (who now thinks he should be a U.S. Senator) and their corporate and propaganda handlers, the truth took some time to get out.
"We are especially grateful at this time to the staff of Substance and to the groups who stood up early and never wavered in our defense and in the broader defense of freedom. Before the amicus deadline, I wrote to the major newspapers, to the ACLU, and to others that sometimes practice what they preach. They
did not respond, nor had they joined in this important work earlier. In fact, the Chicago Tribune and Chicago Sun-Times both supported Paul Vallas and the constitutional atrocity launched against us in twin editorials (January 28, 1999). The Tribune called on the school board to fire me, but not rape the First Amendment too much in the process.
"My greatest thanks goes to our family, which had some rough moments but never
wavered. With such strength, we can indeed go far.
"I'm writing this from Louisville, where Rouge Forum is holding its annual education conference. Rouge Forum, along with New Democracy, Fair Test, PURE, Designs for Change (and precious few others) stood with us from day one. In fact, when things were bleakest (in May and June 1999, after I'd been suspended
from my teaching job without pay and many people were saying we should just give
up), it was a trip to Detroit for the Rouge Forum conference at Wayne State that helped convince us we could continue. Last night here in Louisville, during the discussion of where we were going in the face of high stakes testing and all the related atrocities, someone talked about how I had had to "stand alone" back then.
"I corrected that remark gently. 'I was never standing alone. I just had to walk point...'
"We always knew there was a heck of a large army organizing out there for The Resistance. But it was good to meet so many people when times were toughest, since your enemies always try to make it look like you are alone.
George N. Schmidt
5132 W. Berteau
Chicago, IL 60641
Ohanian Note: Send your $16 for a subscription toSubstance to the above address. Include a little extra to support the appeal.