Judge sends Hill case straight to high court

Mar 21, 2013 The Associated Press

CHEYENNE -- Ruling that the education of Wyoming's K-12 students hasn't been jeopardized by a new law making changes to the state schools chief's job, a district judge on Wednesday rejected Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill's request to have her powers and duties immediately restored.

Judge Thomas Campbell refused to issue a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit Hill has filed challenging the constitutionality of a new law that made major changes to her job, including removing her as administrative head of the Wyoming Education Department.

"The goal of educating Wyoming's children continues to be met under this new statute, albeit with different guidance," Campbell said in his ruling.

Hill had argued that the state's school system was being harmed by the law because it depended on many decisions made by the superintendent and the Education Department.

She and two Platte County residents also argued that they were personally harmed by the law because it changed the duties of statewide elected offices that they had voted on in 2010, when Hill was elected.

However, Campbell rejected any claim that their voting rights had been harmed as "speculative."

Campbell also sent the lawsuit filed against the state and Gov. Matt Mead directly to the Wyoming Supreme Court for further court action. If the Supreme Court accepts the case directly from Campbell, it will schedule to hear arguments from both sides before making a decision.

Hill said she was glad the lawsuit was expedited to the Supreme Court.

"We want this resolved as quickly as possible," she said.

Hill declined to comment on the judge's ruling on the preliminary injunction.

Earlier, Campbell also had denied Hill's request for a temporary restraining order in the case.

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