In November, the Obama Justice Department dropped a lawsuit aimed at stopping a school voucher program in Louisiana. The Louisiana Scholarship Program is intended to give students in failing public schools a chance to attend better schools, including private ones. Justice tried to block the program on the basis that it may have violated a 1975 federal desegregation order. The case began to heat up when Republican governor Bobby Jindal, joined by some parents of students (chiefly minorities) who had benefited from the voucher program, began a defense in the courts. Justice then filed a motion contesting the parents' standing in the case.
However, when U.S. district court judge Ivan Lemelle handed down his ruling in November, he revealed that the Justice Department had "abandoned" its efforts to end the voucher program. "We are pleased that the Obama Administration has given up its attempt to end the Louisiana Scholarship Program with this absurd lawsuit," Jindal said at the time.
But Justice did not completely fold, requesting that the court allow a federal review process of the voucher program. In a November 22 hearing, the judge ordered the two sides to file proposals to modify the process for information sharing with respect to the Louisiana Scholarship Program.
Tuesday evening, those proposals were filed. Read DOJ's filing here and the state's counter-filing here. Jindal wasted no time in harshly criticizing the Justice Department's plan. According to the governor's office:
...President Obama’s Justice Department is not backing down from its proposal to institute a 45-day period where it can review and have veto power over each individual award. Furthermore, the Justice Department is now requesting information on the racial makeup of Louisiana private schools.
Jindal pulled no punches in his characterization of Justice's position:
I am also shocked to learn that the Justice Department is now asking for the state to provide an analysis of the racial composition of our states private schools. The federal government’s new request is a frightening overreach of the federal government and shows it knows no bounds.
President Obama’s Department of Justice has admitted it cannot prove that Louisiana school choice is violating desegregation efforts, yet it continues to seek the ability to tell a parent their child cannot escape a failing school because their child is not the "right" race.
The Department of Justice proposal reeks of federal government intrusion and proves the people in Washington running our federal government are more interested in skin color than they are in education.
The governor's statement also provided a description of the proposal filed by the state of Louisiana, which would not eliminate the federal role, but would minimize Justice's involvement and shift the burden of proof of discrimination to the DOJ:
The State of Louisiana’s proposal offers to share data about applicants, awards, and public school enrollment with the Justice Department for the 2014-15 school year. This would mean that, in total, the Justice Department would have three years of data about the Scholarship program and its effect on public school enrollment, as the state has already provided data and analysis for the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years. The State proposes that once three years of data has been provided to the Justice Department, the burden should be on them to prove implementation of the Scholarship Program violates law or the Constitution. The Justice Department to this point has failed to prove the Scholarship Program has impeded the Brumfield order.
The Justice Department has not yet issued a statement about the proposal filings.
The Obama administration's Justice Department has dropped a lawsuit aiming to stop a school voucher program in the state of Louisiana. A ruling Friday by a United States district court judge revealed that the federal government has "abandoned" its pursuit of an injunction against the Louisiana Scholarship Program, a state-funded voucher program designed to give students in failing public schools the opportunity to attend better performing public or private schools.
An organization representing Louisiana parents shouldn't be allowed to intervene in a federal lawsuit against the state's school voucher program, the Department of Justice said in a response to a motion requesting legal intervention.
Louisana governor Bobby Jindal, the two-term Republican and potential presidential candidate, has announced the formation of a new group called America Next. The organization bills itself as a "conservative policy group" that aims to "focus on winning a war of ideas." Here's an excerpt from a mission statement by Jindal on the new group's website:
Bobby Jindal is outraged over a Department of Justice lawsuit against a Louisiana school voucher program. The suit, which he (repeatedly) calls “cynical, immoral, and hypocritical” and the “worst misuse” of federal desegregation laws, aims to stop a program that allows poor students in failing schools to enter a lottery for a voucher to attend a better school.
High costs and low-quality care have defined the state of Louisiana's system of charity hospitals, established during the Huey Long era to serve the medical needs of low-income citizens. Now, as the Associated Press's Melinda Deslatte reports, Republican governor Bobby Jindal is making the case that his privatization reforms are a successful conservative alternative for providing health care services to those in need:
Baton Rouge, La. Louisiana governor Bobby Jindal, who also chairs the Republican Governors Association, says Republicans should be doing more to help Ken Cuccinelli in his race for the governorship in Virginia.
A Louisiana high school is in "chaos" after 57 teachers skipped school to protest the governor in Baton Rouge. The problem is that there were not enough substitute teachers to replace those who decided to protest the Republican governor, Bobby Jindal.
"Operations at Lafayette High School were thrown into 'chaos' on Wednesday after 57 teachers were absent, said Lafayette Parish Superintendent Pat Cooper," reports theadvertiser.com.
"Cooper said the majority of those teachers attended a rally of educators at the state capitol in Baton Rouge.
Louisiana’s showing up a lot on cable TV these days. There’s the History Channel’s Swamp People, a hit series documenting the lives of Cajun alligator hunters in the swamps of coastal Louisiana. Over on A&E, you can watch Duck Dynasty, which features a self-professed family of rednecks who turned their northeast Louisiana-based duck call business into a multi-million dollar company. Tune into Country Music Television to catch one of three Louisiana-themed shows: Bayou Billionaires, My Big Redneck Vacation, and CMT’s newest program, Swamp Pawn, which is not to be confused with History’s Cajun Pawn Stars, a creole-flavored spinoff of the popular parent series. Sons of Guns, filmed in Baton Rouge,is the Discovery Channel’s second Louisiana show after the now-cancelled Ragin Cajuns. And this spring, A&E has a new reality series, The Governor’s Wife, which focuses on the third (much younger) wife of Louisiana’s 85-year-old convicted ex-governor Edwin Edwards.
At the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bobby Jindal, the Republican governor of Louisiana, weighed in on the national debate about the federal government's proper role.