The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) of New Mexico filed a lawsuit against the New Mexico Public Education Department (PED) alleging that a regulation that prohibits public education employees from “disparaging” standardized tests violates New Mexico constitutional free speech protections. The non-disparagement regulation states that teachers and other employees are prohibited from “disparag[ing] or diminish[ing] the significance, importance, or use of standardized tests,” on pain of “suspension or revocation of a person’s educator or administrator licensure or other PED licensure…” In its lawsuit, the ACLU of New Mexico brought multiple state constitutional claims against PED including viewpoint discrimination, denial of due process of law, and violation of New Mexico public school students’ fundamental right to education.

In May 2016, the New Mexico PED agreed to begin the process of removing the gag rule from the books, and officially removed the regulation in August of the same year.


Maria Martinez Sanchez, Alexandra Freedman Smith

Pro Bono Law Firm(s)

Laura Schauer Ives, Kennedy Kennedy & Ives; Jane Katherine Girard and Katherine A. Wray, Wray &Girard PC

Date filed

March 30, 2016


First Judicial District Court, Santa Fe County