Sunday, August 23, 2015

Supreme Court's moronic McCleary scam: state says "no" to the fine.

As expected... or at least hoped for, the Supreme Court has made themselves look like a bunch of blithering idiots.

As reported in the TNT, there's no mechanism to pay the fine, so the fine isn't getting paid.  Even if there was, there would be no reason to pay it.

Politics & Government
August 15, 2015
McCleary fine going unpaid for now, but state is ‘good for it’ 

By Jordan Schrader
Staff writer
A small group of demonstrators stands on the steps of the Temple of Justice and in view of the Legislative Building as they advocate for more state spending on education in September 2014.
                                A small group of demonstrators stands on the steps of the Temple of                                                                   Justice and in view of the Legislative Building as they advocate for                                                                              more state spending on education in September 2014.                                                   Elaine Thompson The Associated Press

Read more here:
State government is leaving a projected $360 million unspent and unrestricted in this two-year budget cycle, so it can afford to let a $100,000-a-day tab run for a while. 
Especially when it essentially owes the money to itself. 
“We’re good for it,” House budget chairman Ross Hunter said. 
Two days of $100,000 fines passed without payment after the state Supreme Court ordered the penalties Thursday in the McCleary case. 
The fines could prod the Legislature into a fourth special session this year to come up with a plan for reversing unconstitutional underfunding of schools. The state is in contempt of court for failing to come up with such a plan, even though lawmakers have boosted budgeted per-student spending by one-third since the high court’s original 2012 ruling. 
The court called for the penalties to go to a special account to pay for basic education.
State government’s legal minds are pondering how that would work. 
“Our folks are still trying to figure out the logistics of that,” Ralph Thomas, a spokesman for the Office of Financial Management, said Friday afternoon. 
Unpaid penalties could stack up for a while if the lawyers decide paying the fines requires approval of the Legislature. 
“Clearly, money cannot be moved outside the treasury without the Legislature appropriating it,” said Hunter, a Medina Democrat. 
But he said figuring out what to do about the fine is “the part I am least worried about.” 
It ranks below a series of intractable problems on school funding that he and other lawmakers believe need to be solved as part of fully funding schools, including figuring out how to raise as much as $3.5 billion extra for salaries and what to do about policies on local levies and collective bargaining. 
Jordan Schrader: 360-786-1826

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Even an otherwise friendly-to-the-court position democrat, Hunter, acknowledges that the fine is senseless idiocy, since the people that need to approve such a fine aren't about to do so.

That, of course, comes on the top of the GOP State Senate doing now what they should have done the moment this idiocy hit the ground from those 9 simple idiots:  Telling the Court to get stuffed.

Politics & Government
August 21, 2015 
19 lawmakers: State Supreme Court order — and $100,000 per-day fine — unconstitutional
Top Republican lawmakers are firing back at the state Supreme Court for its recent order fining the state $100,000 a day in a school funding case. 
In a letter dated Friday, 19 members of the Republican-led Senate majority said the court’s latest order in the McCleary case violates the state constitution and “presents a clear threat to our state Legislature as an institution.” 
“It is now time for us to explore the range of political, legal and constitutional responses that we have at our disposal,” said the letter, which was delivered to leaders of the Legislature’s other three political caucuses.

Meanwhile, Republican Senate leaders would not commit Friday to be part of a bipartisan work group to address school funding issues raised in the court’s Aug. 13 ruling. 
In a conference call Friday with Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee, leaders of the other three political caucuses agreed to appoint members to the work group, but Senate Republicans did not, said Inslee spokeswoman Jaime Smith. 
Senate Majority Leader Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said he still needs to speak with members of his caucus to decide whether they’ll participate. 
“I did not agree, nor did I decline,” said Schoesler, who signed the letter objecting to the court’s ruling, along with nearly three-fourths of his caucus. 
The letter from the 19 senators asks legislative leaders to consider banding together to stand up to the court, noting: “The Court’s Order Demands a Legislative Response.”

But the letter stops short of suggesting specific measures, such as impeaching Supreme Court justices or — as some Republican lawmakers have previously proposed — reducing the number of justices on the court bench. 
In the letter, the senators complain that the court doesn’t have the authority to order the state to deposit $100,000 a day in an account for basic education, something state officials acknowledged shortly after the ruling. Ultimately, the Legislature must vote to create the account and move the funds there, a spokesman for the governor’s office said Monday. 
By sanctioning the state, “the court has effectively hijacked the appropriation authority of the state Legislature,” according to the letter signed by 18 Republican senators and a Democrat who caucuses with them. 
“Our doctrine of separation of powers means that neither the governor nor a judge may interfere with legislative business,” the letter continues. 
But Democrats, including Inslee, were quick to dismiss the Republican letter as a distraction from the need to come up with a plan to fully fund public schools.

“I don’t care what Senate Republicans think of the court’s order,” said Senate Minority Leader Sharon Nelson, D-Maury Island, in a statement. “Neither do kids who continue to move through our K-12 system in crumbling schools. Neither do teachers who have to leave the profession they love because they can’t afford to feed their families. Neither do parents who send their kids to overcrowded schools and classrooms year after year.” 
“The one and only thing any of us should care about is fixing these issues and fixing them now.” 
In the McCleary case, the court ruled in 2012 that lawmakers were failing to meet their constitutional duty to fully fund basic education and must correct the funding gap by 2018. 
In January 2014, the court justices ordered the Legislature to come up with a detailed plan to meet the 2018 deadline. Lawmakers’ failure to deliver that plan prompted the court to find the state in contempt last September and to order the $100,000 per day in penalties on Aug. 13. 
Andrew Siegel, an associate professor of law at Seattle University, said the concerns raised by the 19 senators who signed the letter were “largely misplaced.” He said the court’s decision to penalize the Legislature for failing to comply with its orders is well within its authority. 
“It very much is consistent with the role of courts in enforcing constitutional rights,” Siegel said. “Once they define the parameters, it is their obligation to make sure those rights are respected.” 
Not all members of the Republican majority coalition joined their colleagues in objecting to the court’s ruling. 
Leaving their names off the letter were Sen. Joe Fain, R-Auburn; Sen. Steve O’Ban, R-Tacoma; Sen. Bruce Dammeier, R-Puyallup; Sen. Mark Miloscia, R-Federal Way; Sen. Andy Hill, R-Redmond; Sen. Steve Litzow, R-Mercer Island; and Sen. Brian Dansel, R-Republic.

Fain said he and other Republican senators are still working to solve the state’s education funding issues, even if some disagree with the court’s actions. The senators say as much in their letter, Fain added. 
The court’s latest order criticized the Legislature’s continued failure to fully fund school employee salaries, which the court has said are a state responsibility and shouldn’t be paid by local school districts. 
A group of two Republican and two Democratic senators introduced a bipartisan proposal earlier this year to address that issue, and will hold public meetings this fall to discuss those ideas, Schoesler said. 
As far as participating in another task force, Schoesler said he has seen many work groups convened in Olympia that “have a predetermined outcome.” 
He said he would like to see a bipartisan work group “explore a wide range of reforms and ways to improve our education system, rather than just respond to the court.” 
“Getting it right is more important than a timeline to make the court happy,” Schoesler said.
The PDF letter in question is located at the bottom of the article:

I appreciate the position of the Court, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the WEA.

That said, they have zero power or ability to force the legislature to do anything... period.... which I have been saying all along.

Now the Court looks like what they are: essentially a toothless group of partisan hacks doing the bidding of their masters and stomping on the Constitution of this state every step of the way.

They are WAY out of their lane.  And they cannot expect to push without having those in government they think they can control push back.

The only disappointment I have in this letter... at this point... is that it wasn't hand delivered to the Court the same day as their idiotic "decision."

Well done to all, including Sen. Ann "Gas Tax" Rivers, my very own 18th District Senator and signatory to this letter... surprisingly enough. 

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