Remember how State legislators congratulated themselves about their bipartisan budget success when the 2014 session adjourned? They may have erred.
The Washington Supreme Court summoned the legislature to show cause why it should be held in contempt of the Court’s mandate in the Cleary decision to remedy its failure to fulfill “its paramount duty to make ample provision for the education of all children within its borders.” Oops, so much for legislative self-adulation.
To be fair, legislative hubris ended with an honest report on its progress. Quotes are from the Supreme Court’s summons after reading the legislature’s self-assessment of progress. The State “candidly admits the legislature did not enact additional timelines in 2014 to implement the program of basic education as directed by the court.” Uh, oh, it didn’t do its homework.
“The report acknowledges the pace must quicken.” Naughty, naughty.
“But the report recognizes that during the legislative 2014 session there was no political agreement reached either among the political caucuses or between legislative chambers on what the full implementation should look like.” This kind of report card could ruin the legislators recess this summer.
“And it offers no concrete reason to believe that the ‘grand agreement’ envisioned will more likely be implemented in 2015.” Sounds like the court is going to tell legislators they need summer school to make-up a failing grade.
“The state is hereby summoned to address why the state should not be held in contempt for violation of this court’s order,” and if so, why seven forms of relief should not be imposed. Yep, the Court is mandating make-up homework by July 11 and after the Court grades it, corrections by August 25.
The seven imposable remedies are profound including, monetary sanctions, prohibiting approved expenditures, ordering the legislature to fund specific amounts or sell properties, invalidating education funding cuts and prohibiting funding of an unconstitutional education system. In other words, the Supreme Court could make a shambles of the legislature inept bipartisan budget.
To emphasize the profound implications of this summons, the source who sent me this public court document but prefers not to be identified, said Higher Education is not a constitutional education system. Could the Court mandate defunding the unconstitutional Higher Edcation? “It could get messy,” said my source.
It should get messy if legislators don’t do their job and cloak themselves in praise for bipartisan contempt of the State Supreme Court.