Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Washington State Charter Law Case Update

The charter school law case has been assigned to King County and to Judge Jean Rietschel.  

I was amused to read elsewhere that the lawyers for the plaintiffs were accused of going "court and judge shopping."

For the record, most cases involving statewide issues are either heard in Olympia (state capital) or Seattle (largest court system).  No mystery there.

As for judge shopping, it is my understanding that plaintiffs have one chance to change judges if they are not happy with their assignment.  That change right was not used in this case.

The Times supported Judge Rietschel's election in 2008.

I am seeking information on a court date.  I would think the plaintiffs might argue for a date sooner rather than later because of the impacts on all the various entities (districts, schools, charter school operators, Charter Commission, BOE, etc.)

My early take on the case is that there are several legal issues likely to be raised, most of them based on the Washington State Constitution.  The judge can either throw out part(s) of the law or the entire thing.  I would suspect if she does so, there will be an appeal.

What this would mean for the process - if the law was thrown out and on appeal - is uncertain. 

4 comments:

Eric B said...

A sooner court date will help everyone and avoid the waste of money. If the initial ruling comes back against charter schools (and I think it must given prior case law, but I'm not a lawyer), then an authorizer would be foolhardy to approve a charter school while the case is on appeal. The disruption will be incredible if the charter was determined to be unconstitutional and closed down on short or no notice.

I would expect appeals no matter where the decision lands. This is too big an issue for either side to let the first decision stand.

Melissa Westbrook said...

Excellent summary, Eric.

Charlie Mas said...

This can only end in the Washington Supreme Court. King County Court is merely the first act.

Dora said...

A pro-charter contingent has been added as a party to the suit. That now makes three parties involved in the lawsuit, the state, the plaintiffs, and the pro-charter folks.