Home » Edwards hasn’t made decisions on Jindal-era lawsuits

Edwards hasn’t made decisions on Jindal-era lawsuits

by Associated Press

BATON ROUGE — Former Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal became embroiled in three high-profile lawsuits involving issues targeted by conservatives during his failed bid for the Republican presidential nomination: Planned Parenthood, Common Core and same-sex marriage.

His Democratic successor, Gov. John Bel Edwards, however, appears to be in no rush to wade into the controversies.

The Jindal administration lost the first rounds of both the Planned Parenthood and Common Core lawsuits, and appeals from that administration are pending. Edwards hasn’t decided whether to continue those appeals, said his spokesman, Richard Carbo.

Jindal’s health department cut off Medicaid funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state after videos were released by an anti-abortion group claiming Planned Parenthood illegally sells fetal tissue. The organization denied the allegation and said the videos were misleading.

A federal judge ordered that the state continue funding cancer screenings, gynecology exams and other health services at Planned Parenthood clinics that that serve an estimated 5,200 women in Louisiana.

Governors in several other states also are tied up in lawsuits over funding of the organization’s clinics.

“We are in talks with the Attorney General’s office on the best path forward for the litigation,” Carbo said in a statement.

Jindal lawyer Jimmy Faircloth said he’s currently assuming the appeal will continue, but is awaiting further instructions from Edwards’ office and Attorney General Jeff Landry.

In the 2014 federal Common Core lawsuit, Jindal accused 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.

A judge ruled that Jindal offered “no evidence” Louisiana was made to adopt a particular set of education standards.

Carbo said Edwards’ executive counsel was reviewing the case to determine whether later legislation approved by Obama makes the lawsuit moot: In December, Obama signed an overhaul of the No Child Left Behind education law that says the federal government can’t mandate or give states incentives to adopt or maintain any particular set of academic standards.

Faircloth, who also represented the Jindal administration in that case, said he’ll take his cues from the Edwards administration on whether that appeal will proceed.

The third case, centering on same-sex marriage, is in state district court.

The American Civil Liberties Union Foundation of Louisiana, the Forum for Equality Foundation and six New Orleans residents are challenging as unconstitutional a Jindal executive order.

The “Marriage and Conscience” order prohibits state agencies under the governor’s control from denying licenses, benefits, contracts or tax deductions in response to actions taken because of someone’s “religious belief that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman.”

The May 19th order remains in place until August, unless Edwards rescinds it, which he hasn’t indicated he will do, though he opposed enacting similar legislation when Jindal pushed it.

Marjorie Esman of the ACLU said she had no information from the new administration on its plans.

“We haven’t heard from the governor or from the new attorney general,” Esman said.

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