Your morning jolt: Ga. Supreme Court overturns school board ousters

The Georgia Supreme Court has unanimously overturned Gov. Sonny Perdue’s 2010 decision to remove three members of the Warren County school board in east Georgia, while it was in the midst of an accreditation crisis.

The governor can remove members of a constitutionally mandated board if they violate the state’s ethics law – but not simply because they’re dysfunctional.

Look for this one to have implications for other school boards under scrutiny. A summary of the just-released decision:

Official Code of Georgia §45-10-4 grants the governor authority to remove members of any “board, commission, or authority” created by statute who have violated the state’s code of ethics law. However, “county school boards are creations of the Constitution,” Justice P. Harris writes in today’s opinion.

“While appellees argue that administrative removal of members of constitutionally-created boards, commissions and authorities is a wise policy that is consistent with our Constitution, the wisdom of such a policy is not the issue,” the opinion says. “The General Assembly has simply not pursued such an avenue in [Official Code of Georgia] §45-10-3 and §45-10-4” – the statutes that establish a State Code of Ethics for boards, commissions and authorities, and provide a method for the governor to remove members if they violate that code.

In April 2010, a group of citizens filed a petition with then-Gov. Sonny Perdue asking him to remove Clara Roberts, Cecil Brown and Charles Culver for putting the Warren County School System’s accreditation in jeopardy. The three were members of the five-member Warren County school board. The year before, the parent company of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools – an accrediting agency – had begun investigating the school system for violations of its standards for “governance and leadership.” The citizens filed their petition after a Special Review Team recommended that the school system’s accreditation be removed.

Following a two-day hearing, an administrative law judge recommended to the governor that he remove all three board members for breach of the public trust in violation of state law §45-10-3. On Aug. 6, 2010, Gov. Perdue issued an Executive Order removing all three from office. Less than a week later, the members filed a “Petition for Judicial Review” in Fulton County Superior Court, challenging the validity of the governor’s executive order. (After they filed their petition, Gov. Perdue was succeeded by Gov. Nathan Deal whose name is now on the case.) By the end of the month, the board appointed three new members to fill the vacancies. In January 2011, the superior court denied the petition to review the case of Roberts, Brown and Culver. They then appealed that denial to the state Supreme Court. Meanwhile, in June 2011, the school system was restored to full accreditation.

The Governor and citizens argued that this Court “should construe the term ‘boards, commissions, and authorities created by general statute’ expansively to include any and all such entities created by the Constitution.” But “we must construe the Code sections strictly,” today’s opinion says, noting that “the General Assembly is well aware of how to include members of county boards of education within the ambit of ethics legislation.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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54 comments Add your comment

Centrist

March 19th, 2012
9:03 am

Where is the outrage over the GA legislature (Republicans) proposing a net tax increase along with a payback gift to the car dealership lobby?

I’m not surprised that Democrat bloggers ignore it since tax increases are almost always supported, but car dealer special interest should get some attention.

Fun morning ahead, so other posters have at it in my stead.

Will

March 19th, 2012
9:08 am

So…it was ugly but the school problem is fixed.

Next time, when the state does not have the power, we will let the schools just twist in the wind with their local dysfunction. Who will win: the local crazies. Who will lose: the kids.

clyde

March 19th, 2012
9:23 am

Why should anyone be removed from a government position just because they’re dysfunctional?That’s not the way governments operate.The present President is case in point.

td

March 19th, 2012
9:25 am

I agree with the SC on this issue. The voters of the district are the ones that are responsible for the representation they receive (unless there is proven corruption). If they feel their board member is not doing the job that should be dome then they need to recall said representative. The Governor should not have the power to take away their vote. If the voters are not paying attention to these politicians and making them represent their interest then they are getting what they deserve.

findog

March 19th, 2012
9:29 am

Centrist,
Democrat bloggers ignore it since tax increases are almost always supported
What a crock
Democrats believe in paying for government services with a rational tax rate
Republicans believe the tooth fairy will make up for tax revenue from increased economic activity of the job creators
Let’s cut taxes, increase defense spending, start a war with Iran, give away mineral rights for oil exploration; and we’ll balance the budget, pay off the national debt, by just catching that welfare queen riding up to the food stamp office in her pimps Cadillac…

td

March 19th, 2012
9:51 am

findog

March 19th, 2012
9:29 am

“government services”

This is the key term and what makes the real differences between the two parties. What services should the government be involved in and at what level? The Dems believe more and the Republicans believe less.

Joe Frank

March 19th, 2012
9:52 am

While I understand the rationale behind the decision to remove these and other school board members, I applaude the Supreme Courts decision in re-affirming this is a local issue. These people are elected and re-elected by LOCAL voters. There are avenues open to re-call them if the LOCAL citizens wish to do so. Make that process easier if you will. AH, but that would also make it easier to recall county commissioners, state representatives, and even governors! So no, I don’t think we will see that fix coming anytime soon.
What they have done is seek to create a SECOND, for profit, set of schools run by the STATE, and soon to be funded with YOUR local dollars. Hide and watch as the Charter School craze that is sweeping the nation and GA takes more of your taxes, and in the end will only take the “good” students. This will leave the struggling, poor, and often minority student to fend for themselves. Don’t drink that Koolaide!
The bottom line is thumping on education makes good press for those in Atlanta. It takes our eyes of the other things they DON’T do, and the special interest they cater to!
IF they want REAL reform, make recalls easier, and make qualifing for elections as something other than one of the two parties easier. THEN will would see some politicians held accountable. Don’t hold your breath though!

yuzeyurbrane

March 19th, 2012
9:52 am

This is simply a question of the rule of law. If the Governor and Legislature want to amend the statute or the Constitution there is a proper procedure by which to abide. Hurray for Supreme Court.

clyde

March 19th, 2012
9:53 am

Correct,findog.And another advantage with Democrats is we’ll all know what number comes after trillion,because that’s where the debt is headed.

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
9:56 am

td 9:51

unless the repubs wanna dictate if a woman can have an abortion…why do u repubs think u have a right to control a womans body…i thought ya’ll want less government…obviously not

saul

March 19th, 2012
9:57 am

The Supremes just dissed Sonny. Oh! well, go fish….

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
9:58 am

@findog

the repub thugs will balance the budget by drug testing welfare recepients…lol…

George Hills

March 19th, 2012
10:07 am

It’s not a matter of amending the Constitution; all they’re saying is: the legislature hasn’t expressly authorized this remedy. That can be done & don’t be surprised to see a bill next session.

Tony

March 19th, 2012
10:15 am

Last in the country in corruption laws. When will we realize to vote blindly for one party or the other all the time is a recipe for corruption, terrible ethics, state control, and political over-reaching?

zeke

March 19th, 2012
10:18 am

http://www.stateintegrity.org/

ga leads nation in corruption risk; that’s something to really be proud of.

td

March 19th, 2012
10:33 am

iberalefty

March 19th, 2012
9:56 am

td 9:51

“…why do u repubs think u have a right to control a womans body…i thought ya’ll want less government…obviously not”

The issue has nothing to do with more government or less government. It is all about protecting the rights of a human being. We fought a civil war in this country because one class of people were declared not to be human beings but instead to be classified as property. Now we have a man in the white house, whose ancestors could have been classified as property, standing up and declaring the unborn are not human beings and women should have the right to kill them as they please.

I do not understand how any African American that pro ports to be for civil rights for all human beings can also stand for calling the unborn non human and advocating for abortion. Answer that one if you can.

Will

March 19th, 2012
10:34 am

This was a no brainer.

Conservatives (an opposed to politicians who try to get votes by saying they are conservatives and then governing as big government politicians) understand that local control, when available, in the big picture, long term, is usually the best control relating to government.

Don’t like the direction your LBOE is taking your public school system? Vote out your LBOE. State takeover is not the answer.

Want an example? Chip Rodgers, the politician from Cherokee County, again stated this weekend that it was time for the General Assembly to get involved with the Georgia High School Association. Why? Chip wants children who do not attend (and thus do not represent) public schools to play on public school teams (try explaining to a public school parent that, not only did the parent’s child not make the team, but they did not make the team because someone who does not attend the public school made the team).

Chip Rogers talks like a small government conservative but governs like a big government politician.

roughrider

March 19th, 2012
10:35 am

The Ga. Supreme did not say how to get rid of incompetent school boards. Are we stuck with incompetent people educating our children?

ccatlanta

March 19th, 2012
10:36 am

I too want to comment on the corruption ranking story. I carefully read the stateintegrity.org ranking — each indicator score was fully documented and justified. Georgia deserved it’s last place ranking, mostly because it’s laws against corruption and in favor of transparency are pathetic compared to other states. For state officials to attack the author rather than promise to improve things is outrageous. They should be ashamed of the state for its last place ranking and promising to pass laws that will improve its standing, not complaining about the person who compiled the score. If they would just look at the report, they’d realize that they deserved every score they got.

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
10:50 am

td

u have no right to tell a woman what she can do with her body…why cant u repub men get this through your skulls…then u have the nerve to say youre about less government intrution…yeah right

Ethics, we don't need no ethics

March 19th, 2012
10:53 am

Any surprised that Ga govt. ranks last on the ethics scale? It doesn’t matter which party is in charge, the good ole boys are still the good ole boys.

td

March 19th, 2012
10:55 am

roughrider

March 19th, 2012
10:35 am

The Ga. Supreme did not say how to get rid of incompetent school boards. Are we stuck with incompetent people educating our children?

That is a matter that is up to the local voters. Just because you or I may think someone is “incompetent” does not mean that they are in the eyes of the people that put them into office. The voters have and should always have the ultimate say so as to the competency of their elected officials. If they choose not to vote them out of office then so be it the local community will have to suffer the consequences of their lack of action.

I think Obama is incompetent and will vote against him but if the American people do not agree and re elect him then the consequences of his actions in office will be felt by the voters that elected him.

a racist rightwinger murders black boy

March 19th, 2012
10:57 am

a racist rightwinger murdered a 17 yr old black boy in SANFORD FLORIDA…why do u rightwingers hate blacks so much…and the kkk {police} hasnt even arrested the terrorist yet..

a racist rightwinger murders black boy

March 19th, 2012
10:58 am

td

u mean like the consequences of 9/11 after DUMB DUBYA was elected? yeah the american people suffered under that fool

a racist rightwinger murders black boy

March 19th, 2012
10:59 am

i bet this terrorist is a TEA PARTY member

td

March 19th, 2012
11:01 am

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
10:50 am

You just proved what a huge hypocrite you and your position is. You can not say on one hand that everyone has certain human and civil rights and say at the same time that the unborn are not human beings and as such have no rights. Hitler did this when he said the Jews were not humans and did not have human or civil rights. According to what you are saying then any person could stand up and say another person is not human and should not have human rights because the majority of the people FEEL that way.

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:09 am

nobody has a right to control another human beings body…nobody made u or any of the sanctimonious lying republican candidates god…

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:12 am

repubs need to stay out of peoples bedrooms…abortion is here to stay, rights will not be rolled back to the mythical good ole days of yesteryear..u dont want your wife getting an abortion thats your business, but its not your businss to dictate what other women can do..

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:15 am

why are christians opposed to universal healthcare yet say they are for life, when thousands die every yr because they lack insurance…but these same fools wanna save the unborn, but will let the born die, because heaven forbids they think government healthcare is socialism…

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:18 am

rightwing gawdfearin christians think universal healthcare is evil…imagine that, saving lives is evil to them…they love their invisible god but hates his children..

td

March 19th, 2012
11:28 am

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:09 am

nobody has a right to control another human beings body

Your argument holds no truth because you are saying a woman has the right to control the life of another human being but that government has no duty to protect those rights because it affects the human body of a different human being. Like I said you are a hypocrite.

Lawrence

March 19th, 2012
11:28 am

We, also need to get rid of the Ga Supreme Court. They are similar to the school board.

td

March 19th, 2012
11:33 am

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:15 am

why are christians opposed to universal healthcare

What is Universal healthcare? How much healthcare should a person be given? How do you pay for this? I think most Christians feel there should be healthcare, just not healthcare provided by the government. Everyone should purchase there own healthcare policy, just like we purchase automobile insurance or life insurance.

Aquagirl

March 19th, 2012
11:34 am

Abortion is legal, gays can serve openly in the military, Obama is president, and his Republican challengers are arguing the fine points of dog transport. No wonder td’s head explodes every day like clockwork.

Frederick Douglass

March 19th, 2012
11:35 am

td @ 11.01

At the same time Hitler was saying that the Jews weren’t human and thus didn’t have civil rights, much of America was saying the same things about a segment of our society also. When we start down that slippery slope of assigning blame, lets try to be fair and balanced in our assessments, lest we become viewed as hypocrites.

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:38 am

td

dude i’m saying that a woman has a right to control her own body, its that simple. keep your phony christian cult religion to yourselves and leave others alone…repubs wanna make the GUVMENT the arbiter of a womans body…and when has the repubs ever made government smaller? NEVER, so saying repubs favor smaller government is a bold face lie…the government has expanded with every administration…

Frederick Douglass

March 19th, 2012
11:40 am

td @ 11:33

Seven days from today, Clarence Thomas and the Supremes will start to sort out the health care question, hopefully they’ll do a better job than they did when they installed Dubya into the Oval office.

honested

March 19th, 2012
11:40 am

td,

Just can’t start the week off without exposing the density I guess.

A woman will not provide life to the parasite growing inside her without a broad number and scope of choices.

Why is this one choice the only one your backward looking cabal seems so intransigently opposed?

td

March 19th, 2012
11:42 am

Frederick Douglass

March 19th, 2012
11:35 am

I am not disagreeing with you on what you just said. To support abortions is to say that the unborn is not a human being and they have no civil or human rights. If you can do it to the unborn then it can be done to anyone. Why would any African American support abortion rights after all the struggles they have been through to get civil and human rights?

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:45 am

td

we pay for it {universal healthcare} by stopping these wars thats costs americans trillions of dollars…u rightwingers love killing people, especially arabs.. but u hate saving american lives with taxes….but will gladly spend our taxes on killing people

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:48 am

td

why would black women want the guvment to dictate rather they can have an abortion or not? dont the women know whats best for them or do they need the GUVMENT to tell them what to do?

td

March 19th, 2012
11:52 am

honested

March 19th, 2012
11:40 am

“not provide life to the parasite growing inside her”

Is this not the same thing Hiltler told his people about the Jews? They were parasites on the motherland.

Well if (Liberal) woman do not want to have children then it is their CHOICE to not have them. It would sure solve the countries problems in one generation.

td

March 19th, 2012
11:55 am

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:48 am

Why would African Americans what there race put in jeopardy by their own people? How can African Americans stand up for human rights and civil rights for all when they say the unborn are not human and support abortion?

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
11:57 am

td

why do u care if a woman wants an abortion or not? yet you think its ok for americans to die for lack of healthcare…

Darwin

March 19th, 2012
12:01 pm

TD – If you outlaw abortions, only outlaws have abortions. You don’t eliminate them. Silly right winger.

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
12:02 pm

abortion is not putting the black race in jeopardy, and the only reason u want to ban abortion is about control. rightwing christian men wants to dictate to women according to the biblical book of bs{bible} …its about ya’lls insatiable need to control others thats driving this and nothing else

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
12:05 pm

white liberals backed the civil rights movement, womens rights, gay rights, ….conservatives were against all of them…why should blacks vote republican?

Mudfoot

March 19th, 2012
12:08 pm

“The Dems believe more and the Republicans believe less”

LOL! Seriously!…. LMAO….. “Republicans believe less”… Good Lord Above!… OMG this is absolutely the most hilarious post I’ve seen in months! ROFLMAO! No TD, Republicans may SAY they believe less but that’s a shill job… a smokescreen… a mind trick they use on the feeble-minded. Their actions haven’t matched their words for… well… since I can remember and I’m old! Conservatives may believe in less gov’t, but republicans have proven over and over during the last 30 yrs or so that they ain’t conservatives. Yeah, they still talk a decent game, especially during election season, but that’s only because they still need the conservative vote. As for what they actually do…. well review the last 4 republican candidates actions and you’ll discover that republicans talk the talk but don’t walk the walk (other than attempting to judge people on a personal level, regulate what they do on a personal level… and OH! Almost forgot job#1 and absolute top priority (even above and beyond getting that mixed-race socialist out of the White House) GIVE THE WEALTHIEST IN OUR COUNTRY EVEN MORE MONEY at the expense of the poor and the reeling soon-to-be-history middle class (you know, the enemy they declared war on back in Reagan’s day and have since decimated)

“republicans believe less”… Man I’m laughing so hard the tears are clouding my eyes! Priceless! Thanks TD, nothing like starting out Monday morning with uncontrollable laughter! Oh, but if I were you, I wouldn’t believe everything someone told me, especially if they and theirs have lied to my face in the past… and ESPECIALLY if they’re a politician. They’re all the same dude, just different sales pitches

findog

March 19th, 2012
12:13 pm

td,

I agree that everything the government does is not really their job
I just do not think that there is enough of that stuff in there to balance the budget
So, I will never vote for a pander based platform that our federal taxes are too high

On the other hand these local communities with there user fees for the number of office workers a business has need to be deserted by businesses until they get a grip on reality

liberalefty

March 19th, 2012
12:17 pm

republicans say they want a smaller government…they just dont practice it…every repunblican president{and dem} has increased the size of the federal government..