NAACP Plans to Ask Judge to Reconsider Gardendale School Order; Ruling in Case Defies Conventional Procedure
U.S. District Judge Madeline Hughes Haikala has given Gardendale residents the keys to some of the schools in their city even though she asserted that their effort to withdraw from the Jefferson County Schools system is racially motivated.
It’s a contradiction that raised an eyebrow for former federal judge U.W. Clemon, and it’s why he and his colleagues on the legal team for the NAACP Legal Defense Fund plan to file a motion asking Haikala to change her order and halt Gardendale’s takeover.
“It’s called a motion to alter,” Clemon said Wednesday. “In light of her more important finding that the Gardendale school board did not carry its burden of proof that the new school system would not impede the desegregation of the Jefferson County Schools, then there is no legal basis on which to approve the formation of the new system.”
Clemon’s planned motion would be a step short of a formal application to the U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta.
Haikala’s finding is one of the highlights of a 190-page ruling that reads like a walk through the history of school desegregation in America and into the social media world of Facebook. But her exhaustive historical account and her unorthodox use of social media in the ruling are not her only two departures from traditional judicial practice. Before the end of a hearing on this case in December, Haikala opened up the floor to anyone who wanted to share their opinion, a practice rarely used in any court.
Her thoroughness won compliments from Clemon, even as he disagreed with her ultimate ruling. Read more.