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Missouri Common Core Suffers Defeat in Court

Missouri Court of Appeals dismisses Governor Nixon’s appeal, leaves in place trial court judgment enjoining Missouri from paying fees to Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium for Missouri Common Core efforts.
On September 17, 2015, the Missouri Court of Appeals-Western District entered its judgment in Sauer v. Nixon, dismissing the State’s appeal and leaving in place the lower court’s injunction forbidding the State from paying membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium.
Sauer v. Nixon was a lawsuit brought by Fred N. Sauer as lead plaintiff.  He was joined by co-plaintiffs Anne Gassel and Gretchen Logue of Missourians Against Common Core.  The plaintiffs challenged the constitutionality of the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an interstate compact that provides tests aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Sauer’s lawsuit prevailed in the trial court, which held Smarter Balanced is unconstitutional under the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution.  The trial court ordered the State not to pay membership fees to Smarter Balanced.  Governor Nixon challenged this ruling on appeal.
After Sauer’s victory in court, the Missouri Legislature prohibited any further payments to Smarter Balanced for Missouri Common Core expenses, in keeping with the judgment in Sauer v. Nixon.  The Missouri Court of Appeals then dismissed Governor Nixon’s appeal as moot.  Governor Nixon’s attorneys asked the Court of Appeals to vacate the trial court’s judgment, but the Court of Appeals declined to do so.  The Court of Appeals left intact the lower court’s judgment holding that Smarter Balanced is unconstitutional.
“Common Core represents an illegal overreach by the Obama Administration, a blatant attempt to federalize the curriculum of state and local schools,” Sauer said.  “By committing the State of Missouri to adopt the Common Core State Standards and join Smarter Balanced, Governor Nixon violated the U.S. Constitution.  He tried to cede Missouri’s sovereignty over educational policy to an organization of unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats.  Missourians deserve better than this.  We are glad our lawsuit has prompted the Legislature to act and pull Missouri out of Smarter Balanced.”