Wednesday, February 1, 2017

NJ: Highest court saves schools from Christie bullying and spineless lawyering. For now. |

NJ: Highest court saves schools from Christie bullying and spineless lawyering. For now. |:
NJ: Highest court saves schools from Christie bullying and spineless lawyering. For now.



New Jersey’s highest court has turned back an effort by Gov. Chris Christie and his team of compliant and spineless lawyers to convert the judicial tribunal into an unelected  mini-Legislature willing to scrap both equitable school funding and protections for school employees.
The court’s reaction was based on established legal reasoning–the concept of “original jurisdiction”–that is about as dull as law gets but, in a world turned upside down by the seizure of power in Washington by right-wing crazies, reason and dullness are precious gifts to us all.
Because the alternative–what we’re seeing now in the attempted conversion of the United State Supreme Court into a cog in the white nationalist wheels of government–is law based on alt-right ideology and its close companion, the raw opportunism of cowardly Republicans and other fellow-travelers.
Here’s what happened in New Jersey: Christie didn’t want to go through the cumbersome process of changing the school aid formula by making his case to the Legislature. The New Jersey Supreme Court already upheld the aid law. So, after packing the court–he appointed four of the seven members–the governor asked the court to overturn its earlier decision so he could do something crazy: Ignore the needs of urban and other poor children by giving out aid based on an equal amount for every child, no matter what his or her circumstances.
Insanely–there’s a lot of that Orwellian stuff going around now–Christie called it a “fairness formula.”
But, more than that, he wanted to use the state’s highest court as a club against the public employees he hates so much. Christie wanted the court to invalidate teacher tenure, seniority, and collective bargaining statutes so urban districts would be free to fire whomever they wanted for whatever reason they wanted.
Those of us who remember the sane times that preceded Christie and his idol, Donald Trump, will recall that politicians simply cannot force their will on the instruments of government without due process of law.

David Hespe–did they teach about original jurisdiction in your law school?

But this is a new day and people don’t act the way they once did–especially people who suck up to power and make money from it. Take David Hespe, for example. He’s a lawyer who was Christie’s education commissioner. To do his boss’s bidding, this cowardly lap-dog signed an affidavit supporting Christie’s effort–knowing damn well it flew in the face of established procedure.
Because Hespe knew he was asking the court to do what violated clearly NJ: Highest court saves schools from Christie bullying and spineless lawyering. For now. |:







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