LRSD: The next round | Arkansas Blog

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

LRSD: The next round

Posted By on Tue, Jul 10, 2007 at 9:09 AM

John Walker, the lawyer who represents black parents in the Little Rock desegregation lawsuit, has gotten a second extension of time to file an appeal of federal Judge Bill Wilson’s ruling that the district is constitutionally desegregated and thus free from further court proceedings.

 

This has made critics of Walker nervous – for good reason. They believe he is buying time to get the School Board, now controlled by a majority that has been generally sympathetic to his point of view, to approve his idea of a “settlement” of the case. It would include a continuing monitoring role for Walker – something opposed by a number of people in the district – plus legal fees for Walker. Under terms of previous court orders, Walker already has been paid for his role in the case. What’s more, it’s not customary to pay lawyers on the losing side, which Walker was in the case-ending analysis of whether the district had met requirements to monitor programs aimed at improving performance of black students.

 

All of which sets the stage for Thursday evening’s School Board meeting. Rumors have been rampant that the Board was prepared to vote to approve Walker’s “settlement” proposal.

 

Not so, says Board member Michael Daugherty. He said he had asked Board president Dr. Katherine Mitchell to schedule a discussion and possible action on referring Walker’s idea for a “settlement” to mediation in federal court.

 

“My reasoning is that I’m really uncomfortable about continuing litigation,” Daugherty said. “If we send it to a mediator, hopefully both sides will be bound by whatever he says. It does not mean we would be simply giving in to Walker or anyone else.”

 

Walker had proposed earlier  a closed mediation involving members of the School Board. This would run afoul of the state Freedom of Information Act, which prohibits closed meetings of members of the School Board except to discuss certain personnel issues.

 

Daugherty said he envisioned a conventional mediation between legal representatives and the federal court, not including the School Board.

 

Daugherty noted that legal proceedings continue despite Judge Wilson’s ruling and that, while many believe that ruling will be upheld, there’s no guarantee. “I’m tired of litigation. I’m tired of having to pay all this money and not getting anywhere. I’m ready to put an end to it.”

 

The proposal seems simple enough and, on its face, a third way to address a potentially explosive issue. If it develops in this fashion, with parties agreeing to follow the advice of an impartial mediator, it might be a good outcome. But nothing has been easy in recent School Board politics. It's worth noting, too,  the point of view of Michael Daugherty and others in the current Board ruling majority -- the federal courts have been a help to the district and a friend to black students over the years. The end of the court's involvement is not universally celebrated.

 

REFERENCE: Here's Walker's settlement proposal.

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (3)

Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-3 of 3

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • Sunday open line

    Open line and “news” on the Hog football coach.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • The Clintons side by side in Little Rock 25 years after

    Bill and Hillary Clinton side by side taking questions from Donald Carville. The only thing more I could have asked for was a seat for Donald Trmp to handle the same topics.
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • Arkansas a leader in laws against better working conditions

    The Economic Policy Institute has compiled a national look at state laws that prevent local governments from mandating better working conditions in cities and counties than state law provides.As you might expect, Arkansas is among the leaders
    • Nov 19, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Judge anticipates punishment of lawyers in Fort Smith class action case

    Federal Judge P.K. Holmes of Fort Smith issued a 32-page ruling yesterday indicating he contemplates punishment of 16 lawyers who moved a class action lawsuit against an insurance company out of his court to a state court in Polk County after a settlement had been worked out.
    • Apr 15, 2016
  • Donald Trump declares war on Hillary Clinton's marriage

    Donald Trump gave a remarkable interview to the New York Times yesterday in which he declared open season on the marriage of Bill and Hillary Clinton and Bill Clinton's past infidelity. Seems like a loser, but I've been wrong before.
    • Oct 1, 2016
  • French Hill votes against disaster aid to Puerto Rico

    Republican U.S. Rep. French Hill alone among Arkansas's House delegation voted last week against a measure that provided $36.5 billion in disaster aid, a portion  for hurricane-ravaged Puerto Rico as well as money for wildfire response and to support the flood insurance program.
    • Oct 14, 2017

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation