Judge OKs lawsuit, but blocks Jindal’s deposition

BATON ROUGE (AP) — A state judge refused Wednesday to throw out any pieces of a lawsuit accusing Gov. Bobby Jindal of violating the state constitution in his efforts to undermine the Common Core education standards.
District Judge Todd Hernandez rejected a Jindal administration argument that the parents and teachers who sued the Republican governor didn’t have the legal standing to make nearly all of the claims in their lawsuit.
“The plaintiffs have a right and cause of action to seek judicial review and seek judicial restraint against the defendants in this matter,” the judge wrote in his decision.
But while Hernandez ruled that the lawsuit could move forward, he decided that Jindal, his commissioner of administration and other administration officials can’t be questioned under oath by lawyers for the parents and teachers.
The next hearing in the case is set for Monday.
“The Jindal administration tried to shut us down on technicalities, but the judge ruled that this case warrants going forward,” Stephen Kupperman, a lawyer for the group that sued Jindal, said in a statement.
Jimmy Faircloth, an attorney for the governor, said he wasn’t surprised that the judge let the case proceed intact, though he said he expects the Jindal administration to be successful in defeating the allegations raised by the lawsuit.
“The plaintiffs have no clear claim that the governor has exceeded his statutory authority,” Faircloth said.
Seven parents and two teachers, along with a charter school organization, sued Jindal after he suspended contracts the education department planned to use to buy testing material aligned with Common Core. The state education board joined in suing Jindal.
They allege that the governor violated constitutional provisions that establish authority over education policy in the state.
The Common Core standards are math and English benchmarks that have been adopted by more than 40 states, describing what students should know after completing each grade.
Jindal once supported the standards as improving student preparation for college and careers. But the governor, considering a 2016 presidential campaign, now opposes them as an Obama administration effort to meddle in state education policy.
His partial suspension of the testing contracts has stalled standardized testing plans in public schools for third-grade through eighth-grade.
Despite Jindal’s opposition to Common Core, state lawmakers and the Board of Elementary and Secondary Education have voted to keep the multi-state standards in Louisiana’s public schools.
A separate lawsuit over the education standards has been filed by 17 state lawmakers who oppose Common Core and allege education leaders didn’t follow the law in enacting the standards. A hearing in that lawsuit is scheduled for Friday

MELINDA DESLATTE, Associated Press

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