The Alabama State Board of Education has asked a federal judge to dismiss a lawsuit challenging its takeover of the Birmingham school system last year. Attorneys for the state board and State Superintendent Tommy Bice filed the motion late Wednesday asking U.S. District Court Judge David Proctor to dismiss the case against them. In February a group of five voters, including then-Birmingham Board of Education members Virginia Volker and Emanuel Ford and Alabama Education Association representative Michael Todd, who lives in the city, filed a lawsuit that says the state’s intervention in the city school system violated Sections 2 and 5 of the Voting Rights Act.
That group contends the state school board grabbed authority away from voters who elected the Birmingham Board of Education, which is majority black. The state board should have gotten pre-approval for its 2012 intervention plan under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, the group argued.
Proctor on July 18 dismissed a claim in the lawsuit that alleged the state had violated Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. He dismissed the claim because the U.S. Supreme Court a month earlier had struck down a part of the law governing that section, which required Alabama and some other states to have election changes pre-approved.