Introduction to Our Legal Fight
After more than four-and-a-half years of torturous
legal maneuvering, the Chicago Board of Education now
has to face the First Amendment it tried to abolish
in January 1999.
At that time, Chicago's school board and the school
system's frenetic CEO Paul Vallas sued Substance newspaper
and editor George N. Schmidt for more than $1 million
in an uprecedented "copyright infringement" lawsuit.
Thanks to the way media in Chicago is controlled by
the Daley administration, the lawsuit became one of
the biggest media events of the final week of January
1999 in Chicago. Read more.....
Legal Fight Latest News
October 21, 2004
U.S. Supreme Court avoids Substance case
By George N. Schmidt
The United States Supreme Court has refused to hear
the appeal of the
Substance lawsuit. On October 7, Substance attorneys
learned that the Supreme Court
had denied a writ of certiorari, thereby ending federal
appeals on the case.
This means that the 7th Circuit decision upholding
the District Court in Chicago
stands. Read more...
January 1, 2004
A Personal Message from George
Below is the complete text of Judge Posner's decision
in the Substance case. It was posted on the court's website
yesterday afternoon. I have spoken to our attorneys and
with the Tribune, which called me about it. Read
7th Circuit Court Reaches a Decision in the
Read the complete decision HERE.
June 26, 2003
Briefs filed on behalf of Substance
The Chicago Teachers Union and a coalition
of groups (PURE, FairTest, and the Lawyers Committee
for Civil Rights) filed briefs in amicus curiae at
the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals supporting Substance
in its freedom of the press battle.
Download the CTU
Brief. (Adobe Acrobat format).
Download the Brief filed
on behalf of Parents United for Responsible Education
(PURE), the National Center for Fair and Open Testing
(FAIR TEST), the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights
under Law, and Gerald Bracey. (Adobe Acrobat format)
June 18, 2003
Substance appeals to Seventh
U.S. Circuit, citing four years of First Amendment
violations in Chicago
Attorneys for Substance, Inc. and the
editor of Substance (this reporter) filed the appeal
at the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals today,
formally challenging the constitutionality and legality
of the four-and-a-half year campaign by the Chicago
Board of Education to suppress the publication of important
information on high-stakes testing in the pages of
the monthly newspaper Substance. Read
Download the Substance appeal. (Adobe
April 10, 2003
Board drops million-dollar claim
The Chicago Board of Education has
dropped its $1.3 million damages claim against Substance,
Inc. and editor George N. Schmidt.
Four years ago, on January 26, 1999,
the Board sued Schmidt and Substance in federal court
for $1 million. It later upped that amount to $1.3
million in its amended federal complaint and to $1.4
million at an employment termination hearing it held
against Schmidt between January and June 2000. Read
Legal Fight Background