NEW ORLEANS — Louisiana’s new attorney general moved Monday to take over a lawsuit that former Gov. Bobby Jindal filed against the federal government over the Common Core education standards — putting him at odds with Jindal’s successor.
Gov. John Bel Edwards said last week that he was dropping the case, saying new federal law renders the costly lawsuit moot.
Attorney General Jeff Landry said he should be the one to make that decision.
Jindal had accused President Barack Obama’s administration of manipulating federal grants and policy to illegally pressure states to adopt Common Core, a set of multistate benchmarks for English and math. A federal judge ruled there was no evidence of that.
Jindal appealed before leaving office. Landry filed papers Monday asking the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to let him take over for Jindal.
Edwards, a Democrat, and Jindal, a Republican, had both been critical of various aspects of Common Core in the past. But Edwards said it was time to end the lawsuit. Edwards’ office said a recently signed federal law barring the government from mandating standards, combined with Louisiana’s work to rewrite its public school standards, makes the lawsuit “educationally and financially unnecessary.”
Jindal’s contract lawyer, Jimmy Faircloth, was paid at least $450,000 to represent Louisiana on the case, according to Edwards’ office.
When Landry, a Republican, suggested last week that he might take up the lawsuit, Edwards responded with a letter.
“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.
Landry released his letter in response Monday. “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,” Landry wrote.