As students begin the school year in Douglas County's trial school voucher program a Denver District Judge Michael Martinez decided to step on the students' dreams and grant an injunction in the case. This had the effect of ending the program before it could begin while legal wrangling continues between the school board and anti-school choice advocates from the ACLU and a bevy of other liberal special interest groups suing the school district.
The saddest part for conservatives is not necessarily that the ruling harms a school choice movement with national, bipartisan momentum, but that it came from a judge appointed by former Governor Bill Owens.
As conservatives have learned before, most glaringly with President George H.W. Bush's appointment of Supreme Court Justice David Souter, judges aren't always what they appear to be during the nominating process.
Souter has infamously been a conservative turncoat since arriving on the Supreme Court.
In this school choice case, a Republican appointed judge is choosing the ACLU over a program supported by conservative thinkers and jurists, including the US Supreme Court who has ruled in favor of a voucher program in Arizona.
If Douglas County doesn't appeal the decision it would be a final legal ruling. The ACLU, highlighting their modus operandi, said DougCo shouldn't appeal because of the taxpayer money it would cost for the appeal. In their world, liberal special interest groups should be able to stop whatever government program they want by suing and hoping the district can't afford the cost of a legal defense.
"We would hope they wouldn't appeal," says ACLU spokeswoman Rosemary Harris Lytle, "because of the tremendous liability that's already been placed on the taxpayers in that county."
Due process be damned.
Facts be damned too.
Per Ed News Colorado:
"Dougco leaders established a legal fund when they approved the voucher pilot 7-0 on March 15, acknowledging the program would likely face a court battle. On Monday, Barber said the last available balance for the fund was more than $50,000. He did not know if the Friday ruling had sparked more donations."
The ACLU wouldn't want facts to get in the way of a good hypocritical press statement.
According to the ACLU, the kids in Douglas County should not be afforded the due process to fight back against anti-school choice activists' attempts to end their opportunity.
The ACLU sued to stop their path to a new school. A judge granted an injunction against the program. End of the road.
Isn't this the same group who fought for miranda rights for terrorists?
So terrorists deserve a long and lengthy list of legal protections, but school kids in Douglas County should simply accept the bonebrained decision by one judge and give up their fight for a better education?
If this is the side that a Republican appointed judge has sided with, it's a sad sign for the current state of the courts in Colorado.
It all ultimately comes down to a very basic and fundamental issue:
who decides how to educate Colorado’s children?
One might think that parents should be afforded the greatest possible range of choices in how to educate their own kids.
In terms of public policy, one might think that elected school boards, or elected representatives in the state legislature, might be the appropriate people to make the decision – after all, isn’t that why we elect them?
Citizens of Colorado hold elections every year to send representatives to different venues to consider and decide on policy (and allocate resources) for their children’s education: in odd-numbered years, for local school boards; in even-numbered years, for the state legislature, which has the constitutional authority to “provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state.”
Yet ultimately, the decisions about how education is funded, and how schools are run, are being made in neither of these arenas, but in the courts.
I may have missed it in my civics and constitutional law classes – but when did we agree to be ruled by judges?
It happened when the states ratified the Constitution of the United States of America, including Article 3 which established a judicial branch with the power to interpret laws.
I love how pissy you conservatives get about so-called “judicial activists” when you lose, but have no problem taking your fights to the court for things like the individual health insurance mandate.
If you really believe in legislative power (See your statement: “…isn’t that why we elect them?”), then you would accept that health care reform is law. But you don’t really believe that, you just use it to whine about the laws YOU wrote being struck down. Especially the ones that you knew were illegal when you passed them.
Also, you ruined your own argument with that quote “provide for the establishment and maintenance of a thorough and uniform system of free public schools throughout the state.” Public being the key word there. And also, uniform. And since these private schools (almost 80% of which are religious) are each allowed to teach whatever they want without any public oversight, it does not meet either standard.
This conservative judge, who recognized that this was a clear violation of the US Constitution and the state Constitution, not to mention common sense, was correct. Keeping government out of religion is, or at least should be, something that conservatives support. But you all have drifted so far away from what conservatism is supposed to mean, that you don’t even notice when you are violating your own values any more.
And as someone who used to be with you all, that’s really sad for me.