Thursday Superintendent of Public Instruction Cindy Hill issued the following statement in a press conference held at her request:
“I solemnly swear that I will support, obey and defend the constitution of the United States, and the constitution of the State of Wyoming.” This is the oath I took when I assumed office. This is the same oath legislators and the governor took.
Last year, the legislature passed and the governor signed into law a bill that stripped the constitutional duties of the Office of the Superintendent of Public instruction.
Given the oath when I was sworn in as superintendent of public instruction, I had and have a duty to support, obey and defend the constitution.
I brought suit, at personal cost and expense, challenging the constitutionality of that law. 37 days ago, the Wyoming Supreme Court struck down that law and restored the constitutional duties of the office. I fulfilled my oath to “support, obey, and defend the constitution” and I expected the governor and the legislature to do the same.
Despite the High Court’s decision, 37 days have passed and I have not been allowed to return to my office. Instead, the governor asked the Court to reconsider its decision. Last Friday, the Supreme Court denied the governor’s rehearing request and expressed in unequivocal terms the urgency of returning the superintendent to office.
Let me point out a portion of the Supreme Court’s re-hearing denial:
Such an approach would only result in further delay and continuation of the status quo, which is unconstitutional. It would also have the practical effect of “running out the clock” until the current Superintendent’s term of office expires. The unconstitutional statutory scheme has now been in place for a year. Efforts should be made to achieve constitutional compliance as quickly as possible.
Despite the courts clear direction that further delay is unconstitutional, I recently learned that the governor and his attorneys are plotting further delays through legal maneuvering in district court. These delay tactics fly in the face of the Supreme Court’s rulings. The constitution of Wyoming is the supreme law of Wyoming, higher than the governor, higher than the legislature, higher than any elected official. The Constitution is the document by which we agreed to govern ourselves and by which we live in peace and harmony.
Out of respect to the legislature, I have waited return to office. Out of deference to the governor, I deferred to his leadership. The time for waiting and deference has long since passed. I must resume my duties as required by the constitution. I call on the governor to fulfill the oath he took and end these delays today.
Consistent with the Supreme Court’s mandate, on Monday, March 10, 2014, at 8 am I will report to work at the Wyoming Department of Education to obey the law, resuming the work I was elected to do to serve the children and people of the state of Wyoming.