Yesterday, Judge Hobgood made the injunction blocking the teacher tenure law permanent.
Durham schools officials celebrated the news Friday that a Wake County judge declared the effort in the General Assembly to end “career status” for North Carolina teachers unconstitutional.
Judge Robert Hobgood ordered a permanent injunction against the Republican-backed law that required school districts to offer 25 percent of teachers contracts and $500 bonuses to those who agreed to give up “career status” early, before 2018 when it would end for all teachers.
The ruling came in response to a lawsuit filed by the N.C. Association of Educators (NCAE) and six teachers, challenging the law that would strip teachers with “career status” of certain rights such as the right to a hearing if they were dismissed. – Herald Sun 05/16/14
While I oppose the current rules governing teacher tenure which include tenure being granted automatically when at teacher hits the four-year mark of continuous employment in North Carolina, this ruling actually makes sense with regard to the NC Constitution as written. Perhaps the NCGA should look at a route which incentivizes teacher to apply for a merit system instead of trying to drop tenure entirely. This would avoid the kind of suit brought by the NCAE. A search of NClet.net brought up the last time NC looked at teacher tenure with a legislative research committee. That it was 1981.
Americans For Prosperity issued this statement on the ruling:
RALEIGH, NC – Today Americans for Prosperity’s North Carolina chapter issued the following statement in reaction to Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood’s decision to place a permanent injunction on the state’s new teacher employment law.
“We are very disappointed with Judge Hobgood’s decision. It seems that another judge, who previously placed a now-overturned injunction on a voucher program, is still standing in the way of real education reform,” said John Dudley, North Carolina State Director for Americans for Prosperity.
Dudley continued, “The way the state has handled teacher employment has not changed for 40 years. The new law creating four year contracts is a great move to make North Carolina teachers more competitive with the rest of the country. Unfortunately, having a competitive education system doesn’t seem to be important to education establishment interest groups or Judge Hobgood.
@PeteKaliner Same judge who’s injunction on scholarships was overturned just made the tenure injunction permanent? Gee, not sketchy at all.
— LL1885 – A.P. Dillon (@LadyLiberty1885) May 16, 2014
Hobgood’s actions in the Opportunity Scholarships case have been looked at as Judicial Activism and ‘big government liberalism’:
When you can’t win at the ballot box, enforce your will through the courts. That’a well-known tactic of the left and that’s exactly the strategy on display in North Carolina.
Earlier today Wake County Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood granted an injunction that halts implementation of the Opportunity Scholarship Grant program The program, approved by the Legislature last session, sets aside $10 million dollars to provide up to $4,200 in scholarship assistance to eligible families to who enroll their children in private schools. News reports said up to 4,700 applications had already been received for the program.
Although no decision has been made, the decision will likely be appealed. – Civitas, February 2014
Hobgood also made headlines when he ordered the removal of an African-American Durham District Attorney named Tracy Cline:
DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — A judge is removing Durham County’s top prosecutor for job performance that raised doubts about justice, making her the second district attorney in state history to lose her job for that reason.
Superior Court Judge Robert Hobgood ordered Friday that Durham District Attorney Tracey Cline be permanently removed because her actions undermined public confidence.
Cline was suspended last month after accusing Durham County’s senior judge Orlando Hudson of misconduct. Other judges ruled her accusations were meritless.
Cline was elected in 2008 after a couple of interim, appointed Durham prosecutors succeeded disgraced Durham District Attorney Michael Nifong. He was disbarred for misconduct in the Duke lacrosse case.
A New Hanover County district attorney who made a racial slur was the only other prosecutor removed the same way about 20 years ago.
Backstory on the Cline case:
- Timelines of Events – News and Observer
- NC court panel has questions about Tracey Cline ouster appeal