A federal judge has issued a final judgment rejecting Gov. Bobby Jindal’s federal lawsuit against the Common Core education standards, clearing the way for him to take his case to an appeals court.
U.S. District Judge Shelly Dick refused the Republican governor’s claims that the U.S. Department of Education was illegally coercing states to use the standards.
In September, Dick had refused Jindal’s request for a preliminary injunction to block federal officials from penalizing his state if it quits using Common Core. She said Jindal failed to show any such threat exists in legal briefings and a two-day hearing in May.
Jindal attorney Jimmy Faircloth asked the judge to make that a final judgment to speed the appeal process, rather than hold a trial on the governor’s broader lawsuit against the Department of Education. The judge granted Faircloth’s request Tuesday.
“We’ve briefed these issues extensively to her and all the experts testified, so there’s no reason practically to have another trial,” Faircloth said. “There’s no expectation of a different outcome.”
Faircloth is challenging the decision to a New Orleans-based appeals court.
Jindal, running for the GOP presidential nomination, sued the Education Department in August 2014, accusing President Barack Obama’s administration of manipulating $4.3 billion in federal grant money and policy waivers to illegally pressure states to adopt the English and math standards and associated testing.
In her September decision, Dick said Jindal didn’t prove the state faces any possible injury if Louisiana decides to drop its use of the multistate standards and testing, which state lawmakers and education officials have so far refused to do.
The judge also suggested Jindal would have difficulty winning the lawsuit’s broader effort to declare the federal grant and waiver programs illegal and unconstitutional.
The Common Core standards are math and English benchmarks adopted by more than 40 states to describe what students should know after completing each grade.
Jindal once supported the standards but changed his position as Common Core became more unpopular among Republicans. In his lawsuit, the governor claimed the Education Department’s actions forced states to move toward a national education curriculum in violation of the state sovereignty clause in the Constitution and federal law.
The Obama administration encouraged states to use the standards but said Louisiana’s decision to adopt Common Core was voluntary.
In her September ruling, Dick said Jindal provided “no evidence” his state was made to adopt a particular set of education standards, curriculum, instructional programs or standardized testing.