Law & Courts

Louisiana Governor, Attorney General Clash Over Common-Core Lawsuit

By Daarel Burnette II — February 09, 2016 1 min read
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Louisiana’s attorney general says that the lawsuit against President Barack Obama over the Common Core State Standards that Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards dropped last week is not his to drop.

On Monday, Attorney General Jeff Landry filed papers with the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let him take over as plaintiff for former Gov. Bobby Jindal, a Republican, who originally filed the suit.

Jindal brought the suit in late 2014, alleging that Obama manipulated billions of dollars in federal grant money and policy waivers to illegally pressure states to adopt the common core.

But Edwards, elected in December, said Feb. 4 that he was dropping the longstanding lawsuit against the federal government because the recent passage of the Every Student Succeeds Act, which specifically bars the federal government from mandating standards, coupled with the state’s own efforts to rewrite its standards makes the lawsuit “educationally and financially unnecessary,” according to the Associated Press. The state has paid close to $450,000 to its lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, to handle the case, the AP reported.

On Monday, Jeff Landry, the state’s attorney general said he’s the one who should be deciding what lawsuits proceed or are dropped, not the governor.

The governor disagrees.

“As in any case, the client—not the attorney—should ultimately make the decisions on the course of action, and I have decided that this case will not proceed,” Edwards wrote to Landry, according to a letter made public to the AP.

In response, Landry sent a letter that said, in part, “Under our Constitution, the person tasked with the authority to make decisions on the legal business of the State of Louisiana is the Attorney General.”

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A version of this news article first appeared in the State EdWatch blog.