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InsiderOnline Blog: July 2004

A Court That Won't Legislate?

The Arkansas Policy Foundation reports a big win for the state's taxpayers this week. A 10-year battle over school funding had teachers' unions and the other usual suspects asking the Arkansas Supreme Court to correct the state's "inadequate and inequitable" funding system by mandating more programs and expenditures.

"They're trying to use the court to get what they can't get through the legislature," said Greg Kaza, executive director of the Arkansas Policy Foundation, which filed an amicus brief in the case.

But the court handed the plaintiffs a forceful 'no' with a civics lesson attached:

It is not this court's role under our system of government, as created by the Arkansas Constitution, and under the fundamental principle of separation of powers, as set out in Article 4, § 2 of that document, to legislate, to implement legislation, or to serve as a watchdog agency, when there is no matter to be presently decided... the judicial branch cannot arrogate to itself control of the legislative branch. Our role is to hear appeals and decide cases where we have original jurisdiction.

I guess California and Massachusetts missed that memo. Learn more about the case's background here. For news in the public interest law field, browse InsiderOnline's legal action database.

Posted on 07/15/04 11:48 AM by Mary Katherine Ham

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