- Associated Press - Thursday, January 30, 2014

CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - The state is asking the Wyoming Supreme Court to reconsider its decision in the state superintendent of public instruction case, a move that could delay Superintendent Cindy Hill’s return as head of the state Department of Education.

“After reviewing the opinion, the concurrence, and the dissent, I believe additional consideration is merited,” Attorney General Peter K. Michael said in a statement Thursday.

The state has 15 days to file its petition and written arguments for a rehearing.

Hill could not be reached for comment Thursday evening.

If a rehearing is granted, the court will decide whether to stay the decision until the rehearing is decided, according to the attorney general’s office.

The Supreme Court ruled 3-2 on Tuesday that a law removing the superintendent as head of the agency was unconstitutional, ruling that the Legislature went too far in cutting the superintendent’s duties.

Concerns about Hill’s administration of the department led to the GOP-controlled Legislature and Republican Gov. Matt Mead enacting a law last year that removed the superintendent as head of the agency. The superintendent was replaced by a director appointed by the governor but remained one of five statewide elected officials.

Hill, a Republican who has decided to run for governor this year, was removed as head of the department in the middle of her four-year term and was provided a new, separate office. Mead appointed Richard Crandall as director of the department.

The Supreme Court decision revealed deep disagreement about the case.

The majority high court opinion authored by Justice E. James Burke and supported by Justices Michael K. Davis and Barton Voigt said the Legislature has the authority to change the powers of the superintendent but not to the point that it threatens the superintendent’s constitutional authority of general supervision of public schools.

But in a dissenting opinion, Chief Justice Marilyn Kite and retired Justice Michael Golden said the state Supreme Court usurped the Legislature’s power with a ruling that muddles legislative branch powers by leaving unanswered how much authority lawmakers had to change the superintendent’s statutory duties.

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