At this very moment, our pal Justice Bob Orr is announcing his representation of Superintendent June Atkinson in a lawsuit against Governor Perdue to determine who will actually control North Carolina's education system:
When: April 3, 2009 at 11:00 am
Where: 333 E. Six Forks Road • Suite 180 • Raleigh, North Carolina
Purpose: Media briefing by Justice Robert F. Orr (retired) concerning litigation that will be filed Friday, April 3, 2009, by Dr. June St. Clair Atkinson to challenge the constitutionality of certain legislative and executive branch actions taken to usurp the Superintendent of Public Instruction’s constitutional authority to administer the North Carolina public school system.
I had a hunch a lawsuit was in the works, but why Justice Orr? Is it because of his clout as a former Supreme Court Justice, or is this a Constitutional issue that is made-to-order for NCICL? Or, is this an attack originating from the dark heart of the Puppetshow?
I know both of these folks are at least occasional readers of BlueNC, so why don't we see if we can get some horse's mouth on this?
Hat tip to Jane over at the Dome.
Addendum: Just for the hell of it, why don't we take a look at what Justice Orr had to say about this while he was running for Governor last year:
In a plan released this morning, the Republican gubernatorial candidate said he wants to fundamentally change the way the state's public education system works, some of which would mean changing the state constitution.
Among other things, he would:
* Make the state Superintendent of Public Instruction an appointed, not elected, office.
* Make the governor responsible for public schools.
* Elect eight members to the State Board of Education and have the governor appoint three others.
Orr said this would increase accountability and oversight for education, while clarifying the responsibility of the governor to improve public schools.
He argued that it's "disingenuous" for state officials to call for responsibility for education by principals and teachers, yet not take responsibility themselves.
"If the next governor wants to be an education governor, then that person has to be fully responsible for the successes as well as the failures in the public schools," he said.
Oh, and about those eight (voter) elected BoE members? They would be virtually powerless:
The Republican gubernatorial candidate said that under his proposed education reform plan, an 11-member board would serve an advisory role to the governor.
Okay, so...if Bob Orr had been elected Governor, he would have (tried to) change the Constitution so he could appoint the Superintendent instead of allowing the voters to choose. And he would have made the voter-elected Board of Education "advisory" (powerless) in nature. Because the Governor needs to be totally responsible for the success or failure of public schools. Gotcha.
But someone else became Governor, didn't she? So now Justice Orr is taking our Governor to court for doing almost exactly what he said he would do if elected—marginalizing elected education officials and running the show himself.