Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Education does not have to submit its rules for review by a little-known state panel, a Superior Court Judge has ruled.
Judge Paul Gessner issued a terse, two-page opinion granting the Board of Education's motion for summary judgment against the Rules Review Commission.
"The State Board of Education is unique because it's a constitutionally created body," said Robert Orr, a former state Supreme Court justice who served as counsel to the Board of Education.
Often when the General Assembly passes a law, a state agency must adopt rules to carry out that law's intent. So, for example, lawmakers might empower an environmental agency to curb a certain type of pollution, but leave it up to the agency to adopt specific standards to carry out that law. In the case of almost all state agencies, the rules that they adopt must be signed off by the Rules Review Commission, an appointed panel designed to make sure state agencies don't overstep their authority.
If Gessner's ruling holds, the State Board of Education would be the one state agency with a blanket exemption from that review process.
It was not immediately clear whether the Attorney General's Office, which represented the Rules Review Commission, would appeal Gessner's order.
The state board's lawsuit became the focus of a minor political stir earlier this year when lawmakers attempted to shift funding from the board to pay for the Rules Review Commission's defense.