Wilson, a former DeKalb district attorney who helped lead a governor’s investigation into test cheating in Atlanta and Dougherty County, said he could not comment about his future role in the DeKalb case “because of ethical considerations.” But Walker said Wilson could not continue representing him because he’s “the school system’s lawyer.” Walker said he is seeking new counsel.
After a hearing in U.S. District Court, the judge asked the Georgia Supreme Court to consider the constitutional questions. The state’s high court docketed the case this week and could take up to six months to issue a decision, though experts don’t expect it to take that long.
The lawsuit contends the Georgia General Assembly handed the governor unconstitutional powers to remove elected school board members. The governor acted under a 2011 law that authorizes intervention in districts placed on probation by their accreditation agency, in this case the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
Ronald Carlson, a professor emeritus at the University of Georgia law school, has been watching the lawsuit and said the outcome is uncertain but that he likes the governor’s odds. He said the law likely will be questioned again if applied elsewhere, so “there’s probably a public interest in this case going forward.”
Nancy Jester, a suspended board member, said she is “not interested at all” in a return to the board due to a favorable legal outcome or by petitioning the governor for reinstatement, an avenue open to all six suspended members.
Jester voted against hiring Wilson on the suspension issues and said she will not help pay for the lawsuit. Two of the other suspended board members did not return calls, and two had no comment.
Walker said he’s “not eager” to serve on the school board again either and might retire if he wins.
“I’m not fighting to keep a position on the board,” he said. “My fight is to eliminate what I see as an unconstitutional law.”