Tuesday, September 16, 2014

They missed one

A little bit of blog stir over a NYT guest column over decay, decay everywhere, but they missed a pretty good item.

The state of Washington Supreme Court has held the legislature in contempt for disobeying an order to spend more money on schools.

There is no excuse for this and no cure. The court and legislature should be impeached in their entirety, or at least those who did not dissent-the legislature for its mewling we-will-comply response.

Could there be a more basic separation of powers issue? The legislature ought to defund the court altogether for two months or a year, or impeach the affirmative votes, but of course they won't.

This is common in the states, where there has been an active campaign for more than 20 years to cause courts to order funding increases for education, although I'm not aware of others who actually reached the contempt stage. Ohio flirted with it, but the court eventually backed off, mumbling something about how its orders were important.

If we had competent civics programs in the U.S., we would now be teaching that Nebraska has a unicameral state legislature and Washington is run by its supreme court, but the other states at least pretend to separation of powers.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The legislature is free to act as you suggest and to endure the political consequences.

3:56 AM, September 16, 2014  
Anonymous Denver Guy said...

I prefer to see the legislature and executive branch simply drag its feet and employ its normal inefficiency to frustrate court orders that breach the separation of powers. Who can State courts turn to if the other branches fail to carry out their ordered to the satisfaction of the courts. Obviously the courts cannot do anything themselves, or even pay someone to carry out their wishes.

5:19 AM, September 16, 2014  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the legislature hasn't done it yet, Anon 1, that's a pretty clear sign that it's unpopular. If they decide to go against the courts I expect the political consequences would be reelection.

5:37 AM, September 16, 2014  

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