Judicial elections, democratic appointment (e.g., senate confirmation), and the Missouri Plan (a/k/a "merit selection")

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Friday, January 31, 2014

School Funding and the Washington State Supreme Court

I've previously noted that the state supreme court's school funding decision frequently comes up in Kansas debates over judicial selection.  The same is apparently true in Washington State.  The Olympia Report says:

Just as importantly, Baumgartner believes it’s time to send a message to the court, which ruled two years ago in the McCleary case that the Legislature wasn’t spending enough money on K-12 education and ordered it to spend more. While many lawmakers might have agreed with that conclusion, it arguably violates the principle of separation of powers for the court to dictate policy to the Legislature.
In fact, the court’s most conservative justice, James Johnson, wrote a scathing opinion earlier this month in which he called his colleagues’ actions unconstitutional.
The court also drew the ire of many last year when it overturned a ballot initiative approved by 64 percent of the voters that required a two-thirds majority in the Legislature to raise taxes.
“Unlike the U.S. Supreme Court, where the justices are appointed to life terms, our justices are elected,” Baumgartner said. “And they’re as political as any of us is.”

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