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High court won’t take up No Child Left Behind case

Associated Press / June 8, 2010

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WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court yesterday turned away a challenge by school districts and teacher unions to the federal No Child Left Behind law.

The court said without comment that it will not step into a lawsuit that questioned whether public schools have to comply with requirements of the law if the federal government doesn’t pay for them.

A federal judge dismissed the lawsuit and a federal appeals court split 8 to 8, leaving the judge’s ruling in place.

The 2002 No Child Left Behind Act requires tests on subjects including math and reading in grades 3 through 8, and once in high school. Schools that miss testing benchmarks face increasingly stiff sanctions, including the potential loss of federal money.

President Obama is proposing major changes to the law. Obama has markedly increased federal money for public schools.

The Supreme Court also said it won’t hear arguments that Hillary Rodham Clinton is ineligible to be secretary of state because of an obscure rule about pay increases.

The justices refused to hear an appeal by Judicial Watch, a conservative watchdog group, without ruling on the underlying issue. Because its lawsuit had been thrown out by the lower courts without a final decision, the Supreme Court dismissed the case for lack of jurisdiction.

The suit is based on a largely overlooked section of the Constitution on compensation for public officials, the emoluments clause. It says no member of Congress can be appointed to a government post if that job’s pay was increased during the lawmaker’s current term.

Clinton was a New York senator when Congress raised the secretary of state’s salary to $191,300. So that Clinton could take the post, Congress lowered the salary to $186,600, the level when she began her second Senate term. A similar tactic has been used so that several other members of Congress could serve in the Cabinet.

Judicial Watch, which has pursued several suits against Clinton and other officials, argues there can be no exceptions. The group says Clinton is ineligible to be secretary of state until 2013, when her second Senate term would have expired.

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