January
20th 2012
NY NAACP Lawsuit and Lobato Ruling: Don’t Let the Outrage Get You Down

Posted under Courts & Denver & Education Politics & Independence Institute & PPC & Private Schools & Public Charter Schools & School Choice & School Finance & Urban Schools

Has it really been almost three months since I told you about a new Choice Media video on the Douglas County Choice Scholarship program injunction? Well, award-winning director Bob Bowdon has triumphed again with this hard-hitting, six-minute video about the New York City NAACP’s lawsuit trying to remove a charter school that successfully serves inner-city minority students:

In the video, Bowdon highlights the wonderful news about last July’s decision rejecting the NAACP lawsuit. Justice Paul Feinman wrote in that opinion:

The court is not permitted, nor would it be appropriate, to substitute its own view of this complex societal question of how best to educate our children for the conclusions already reached by the legislative and executive branches.

I am pained to say this, but the Manhattan judge’s demonstration of humility could serve as a lesson to Colorado judges who have presumed authority in the Lobato school funding lawsuit. That 2009 ruling has opened the door for the costly postlude to the original round of legal debates. Now that the judiciary has said it can determine school finance policy, they have started getting their chance to weigh in. And it’s not been pretty.

Professor Joshua Dunn, the CU-Colorado Springs scholar who broke down the conclusions in Part 2, Round 1 of the Lobato case on an iVoices podcast, has followed through with a Colorado Springs Gazette op-ed that drives the point home:

Shockingly, Judge Rappaport claimed that “the interpretation of the Education Clause does not need to be harmonized with either TABOR or the Gallagher Amendment.” In other words, the judge believes she is free to ignore those inconvenient amendments.

To illustrate what a preposterous, and dangerous, position that is, imagine the U.S. Supreme Court saying that the President’s commander-in-chief powers did not have to be harmonized with the First Amendment’s guarantee of freedom of the press. Outrage would be the appropriate response.

I guess there’s a lot of outrage going on then. Outrage that a group like the NAACP would play legal hardball to deprive poor children of color of educational opportunity. Outrage that the anti-charter forces there still haven’t given up. Outrage that a New York judge shows more humility than our Colorado bench. Outrage that parts of our state constitution get ignored. On and on it goes….

But it’s Friday, so I’m going to mellow out. And just smile…. And play Legos. Have a great weekend!

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