Missouri Court Temporarily Blocks State’s Payment of Membership Fees to Common Core-Aligned Interstate Consortium

Jefferson City, Missouri.  On November 25, 2014, the Circuit Court for Cole County, Missouri issued an order temporarily blocking the State of Missouri from paying membership fees to the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium, an interstate consortium drafting assessments aligned to the Common Core State Standards.  Missouri taxpayer plaintiffs Fred N. Sauer, Anne Gassel, and Gretchen Logue sued to block such payments on the ground that the consortium is an unconstitutional interstate compact that Congress never authorized, in violation of the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution.

The Court’s order finds that “Plaintiffs have made a preliminary showing of likelihood of success on the merits on their claim that the Consortium is an unconstitutional interstate compact to which Congress has never consented, in violation of the Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution.”  The order also finds that Plaintiffs made a showing that they would be irreparably harmed if the State were to disburse membership fees to an unconstitutional entity.  The order temporarily blocks the State from paying over $1 million in membership fees to the consortium pursuant to a recent invoice.

The Compact Clause of the U.S. Constitution states that “No State shall, without the consent of Congress … enter into any Agreement or Compact with any other State.”  In their lawsuit, Sauer, Gassel, and Logue contend that the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium is just the sort of interstate agreement that must be authorized by the U.S. Congress under this Clause.  The lawsuit contends that the consortium threatens the authority of the U.S. Congress because the federal Department of Education’s action in creating the consortium contravene Congressional prohibitions on the creation of a national curriculum.  The lawsuit also contends that the consortium threatens the freedom and authority of non-member states by attempting to create a de facto education “cartel” aligned with Common Core.

The caption of the lawsuit is Fred N. Sauer, et al. v. Jeremiah Nixon, et al., No. 14AC-CC00477.  A copy of the Temporary Restraining Order is available here

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