At a court hearing July 30, the county, both political parties and an attorney for [runoff winner Erica] Lee all said they wanted the department of education’s suit dismissed (the school board wanted it to continue). First Assistant County Attorney Terry O’Rourke said a dismissal would be the most “efficient” thing to do. The result of the runoff would be clear, O’Rourke said, and any voter or candidate who chose to challenge the result later would be a more appropriate party to the lawsuit than the county or department of education.
That rationale sounded pretty odd when the department of education this week filed its response to those motions to dismiss. Three times, the school board’s lawyers wrote that the people now asking to dismiss the suit were the same people who had asked them to file it in the first place:
HCDE said it filed the suit “at the urging” and “at the invitation” of county officials.
Robert Soard, chief of staff in the County Attorney’s office, said HCDE may have misinterpreted discussions among various officials about whether the political parties, the candidates, the department of education or someone else should file a suit.
“I would dispute the claim that they were encouraged to do it or asked to do it by our office,” Soard said. “They have their own lawyers. They understood from the beginning we’re not their lawyers.”
HCDE’s motivation for pressing on with the suit, as expressed in that Chron story from the 30th, is that they have to hold legal elections or they could get sued later. That makes sense, and as an ideal I agree. At this point, however, it seems to me that the only person likely to be interested in trying to force a change is Jarvis Johnson, and so far he has not taken any action. Maybe he’s waiting to see what happens with HCDE’s litigation, I don’t know. Maybe we could all save some time and have him testify or at least submit a brief in this suit, and go from there. I guess there could be a technical legal reason why that isn’t possible. Everything about this is uncharted territory. At this point, I’d just like to get a resolution so we can put our full focus on November. In the meantime, here’s a little musical interlude to get us through.
Or don’t. Let’s just make a decision and go with it, OK?