Your state attorney general, Dustin McDaniel, was tidying up around the office and came across that long-awaited AG’s opinion on the qualifications of former Sen. Shane Broadway to serve as director of the Dept. of Higher Education. (More background here.)
Here is McDaniel’s opinion (opens as PDF), furnished in response to a request from state Reps. Allen Kerr and Jane English, which sidesteps offering a definitive answer to the question but does arrive at this conclusion:
…any person who fails to possess the statutory qualifications described above would be ineligible to serve as Director regardless of other factors, including the preference of the Board members or university presidents. If the leaders of the State’s higher education institutions feel that the statutory qualifications are no longer appropriate, then they are free to seek legislative changes. Short of that, no exceptions to the current framework reveal themselves.
It was the epic dispute that transfixed an entire state in the summer of 2011, a classic college movie confrontation between the Jocks (strutting Arkansas Democrats like Gov. Mike Beebe and Broadway) and the Nerds (pasty, slope-shouldered Republicans with thick glasses who insisted upon a close reading of the statutory language, as nerds are wont to do).
But alas, the big showdown never arrived—Broadway withdrew himself from consideration last week. All’s well that ends etc.