A Barrier to Child Welfare Reform: The Supreme Court’s Flexible Approach to Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5) and Granting Relief to States in Institutional Reform Litigation

In a recent decision, Horne v. Flores, the Court demanded a broader and more flexible application of Federal Rule of Civil Procedure (Rule) 60(b)(5). In doing so, the Court opened the door for states to seek relief from court-enforced agreements like consent decrees. This decision undermines the use of institutional reform litigation as a means of fixing the child welfare system and thus deals a further blow to the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.

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