Friday, December 13, 2002
No license to drive education
My car is adequate. But I have noticed that some guys drive Cadillacs. That's unconstitutional.
If that sounds idiotic, it made perfect sense to the lame-duck liberal majority of the Ohio Supreme Court. Substitute schools for cars, and that's their warped logic: Some schools have leather seats, CD players and more cupholders and that's unconstitutional, they ruled in 1997. Every student is entitled to a Lexus classroom.
Never mind that the state constitution only requires "thorough and efficient'' schools. It says nothing about replacing Chevys with BMWs to make every school equal.
Never mind that a 1991 lawsuit failed to consider all the school improvements paid for by state taxpayers and local voters since then. Even basic Ford schools now have standard CD players and cupholders.
Ohio has increased funding 81 percent in 10 years. But Justice Paul Pfeifer called that "nibbling around the edges.'' Sure. Like the shark nibbled on swimmers in Jaws.
But never mind. They didn't want to be confused by the facts. And now that the liberal activists will soon lose control to a conservative majority elected on Nov. 6, they did what sore losers often do. They dismissed it all in a flurry of huffy name-calling, with logic as tangled as last year's Christmas lights.
The Wednesday ruling in two words: Never mind.
From Justice Pfeifer's majority opinion: "We do not regret that (earlier) decision, because it reflected a genuine effort by the majority to reach a solution to a troubling constitutional issue. However, upon being asked to reconsider that decision, we have changed our collective mind.''
Translation: We were out of our collective mind. But we will never admit it.
He wrote: "We realize that the General Assembly cannot spend money it does not have. Nevertheless, we reiterate that the constitutional mandate must be met.''
Translation: Ohio is broke. So raise taxes, but don't blame us if it wrecks the state economy.
Justice Alice Robie Resnick called Chief Justice Thomas Moyer "imperceptive'' and "disingenuous.'' She said there was no point in repeating her rants against conservatives - but did so anyway.
Translation: We lost, but we refuse to lose gracefully.
Chief Justice Moyer wrote in his dissent: "Unfortunately, the majority today issues an opinion that ignores as many questions as it decides.''
Translation: After 10 years of litigation, embarrassing mistakes and ridiculous rulings, the activists achieved nothing but a colossal waste of Ohio's time and money in an attempt to destroy local control and let teacher unions reach into taxpayer pockets without school levy accountability.
Justice Deborah Cook, who is leaving to become a federal judge, gets the last word: "For the reasons I have expressed throughout this court's consideration of this cause, the court should dismiss this case.''
Translation: I was right when I said the court had no license to drive education. Adios. I'm outta here.
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