Flanked by teachers holding signs that read “I will not be silenced” and “NCAE will not be bullied” spokespeople for the North Carolina Association of Educators told press conference attendees today that the organization will bring a lawsuit shortly challenging the legality of the General Assembly’s hastily convened overnight secret session as well as the substance of the only bill considered therein — a measure to revoke the ability of NCAE members to have their dues deducted from their state paychecks.
NCAE President Sheri Strickland explained that her organization “will not be intimidated” by what she descrbed as an act that was clearly designed to single out and target NCAE members because of their organization’s advocacy in opposition to budget cuts for public education.
NCAE legal counsel Jack Nichols explained that the lawsuit would be brought under “a variety of constitutional claims” — both with respect to the sketchy and convoluted process employed by legislative leaders in convening the supposedly separate session as well as the fact that the bill itself amounts to an unconstitutional and retaliatory “bill of attainder” (i.e. a measure that targets just one entity).
When pressed by a reporter as to whether NCAE’s action was partisan given that Democrats had held late night legislative sessions in the past while in control of the General Assembly, NCAE Government Relations Manager Brian Lewis noted with some irony that it was an attack on Democrats — a series of NCAE mailers targeting Democrats who had supported the GOP budget cuts to education — that had originally spurred the passage of the bill targeting his organization. He noted further that NCAE was and always has been “bipartisan critic” of legislators who fail to act as good stewards of public education.
Policy Watch will have more details on the NCAE lawsuit as soon as they become available.