Altagracia Sanchez v. Office of the State Superintendent of Education

United States Court of Appeals FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA CIRCUIT Argued November 12, 2021 Decided August 12, 2022 No. 21-7014 ALTAGRACIA SANCHEZ, ET AL., APPELLANTS v. OFFICE OF THE STATE SUPERINTENDENT OF EDUCATION AND DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, APPELLEES Appeal from the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (No. 1:18-cv-00975) Renée Flaherty argued the cause for appellants. With her on the briefs was Robert J. McNamara. Adam J. Tuetken, Assistant Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia, argued the cause for appellees. On the brief were Karl A. Racine, Attorney General, Loren L. AliKhan, Solicitor General, Caroline S. Van Zile, Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Carl J. Schifferle, Deputy Solicitor General, and Graham E. Phillips, Assistant Attorney General. 2 Before: SRINIVASAN, Chief Judge, KATSAS, Circuit Judge, and RANDOLPH, Senior Circuit Judge. Opinion for the Court filed by Chief Judge SRINIVASAN. Concurring opinion filed by Senior Circuit Judge RANDOLPH. SRINIVASAN, Chief Judge: The District of Columbia’s Office of the State Superintendent of Education regulates childcare facilities, including by setting minimum qualifications for their workers. In 2016, OSSE issued a rule requiring many childcare workers to obtain an associate’s degree or its equivalent in a field related to early-childhood education. Two childcare workers and a parent filed this lawsuit to challenge the new college requirements. They allege violations of their substantive due process and equal protection rights, as well as of the nondelegation doctrine. The district court initially dismissed plaintiffs’ claims as unripe and moot. In a prior appeal, we found the case justiciable and reversed. On remand, the district court again dismissed, this time on the merits. In rejecting plaintiffs’ substantive due process and equal protection claims, the court concluded that the college requirements are rational, including in the distinctions they draw between different classes of daycare workers. And in rejecting plaintiffs’ nondelegation doctrine claim, the court held that the statute granting regulatory authority to OSSE bears an intelligible principle to guide the agency’s work. We agree with the district court and affirm its judgment. 3 I. We explained the background of this case in our prior opinion. Sanchez v. OSSE, 959 F.3d 1121, 1123–24 (D.C. Cir. 2020). We expand on that discussion here as relevant to the present appeal. Because the district court resolved the case at the motion-to-dismiss stage, we accept as true the facts pleaded in plaintiffs’ complaint. Sparrow v. United Air Lines, Inc., 216 F.3d 1111, 1113 (D.C. Cir. 2000). A. The D.C. Council enacted the Child Development Facilities Regulation Act of 1998 to modernize the city’s licensing regime for childcare providers. See D.C. Law 12- 215, 46 D.C. Reg. 274 (Apr. 13, 1999) (codified as amended at D.C. Code § 7-2031 et seq.). The Facilities Act applies to “[c]hild development facilit[ies],” which it defines as any “center, home, or other structure that provides care and other services, supervision, and guidance for children, infants, and toddlers on a regular basis, regardless of its designated name.” D.C. Code § 7-2031(3). Rather …

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