The deterioration of the District’s special education program has spawned thousands of complaints from parents and local politicians, along with plenty of ideas for fixing the broken system.

On Nov. 8, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit took a crack at it. A three-judge panel heard arguments about whether one controversial reform, a rider to the 1999 D.C. appropriations bill, passed constitutional muster. The fight centers on a fee cap that Congress placed on attorneys who represent special education students — students in need of extra services or skill assessments.

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