“Will not consider the state’s fiscal crisis in deciding the legality of education spending cuts made by the Christie administration last spring, the court ordered this morning.”
Now read this over and see if it makes sense. So the court is ordering the Legislature to spend money a particular way, to specific school districts (In my view, violating the NJ Constitution’s separation of powers). At the SAME time, despite involving itself in spending decisions, it refuses to consider the devastating fiscal and economic crisis that the state faces.
This view is not simply deficient from a legal standard, but highlights the court’s ignorance of reality. Basically, it is saying that it won’t consider fiscal conditions when making a decision that hinges upon spending. The court has already caused the progress of urban school districts to stall – and now it threatens the economic viability of the state. Forcing the state to spend the full Abbott amount would force the Governor to make even more severe cuts than he has. So the court is ensuring the (deficient) education of a few over the rights of every citizen of New Jersey. At the same time, it is not accountable to anyone for the consequences of its decisions.
This entire saga merely underscores the need for New Jersey to amend its constitution and immediately replace the entire court membership. If the court rules against him, the Governor is bound to follow its ruling, even if that ruling could send the state into fiscal ruin. The Governor should immediately convene a special session of the Legislature for the purpose of amending the constitution to ensure that the Legislature, not the courts, are able to have the freedom to govern the people of New Jersey. This court has overturned the system of checks and balances in the state and become so powerful that its hubris threatens our very system of government.
As a member of the 1947 NJ Constitutional Convention said:
“There is no conflict among a strong executive, a strong legislative, and a strong judicial department; rather they tend to balance each other. In their strength they enjoy an equality so essential under our American system, built as it is on the doctrines of the separation of powers and checks and balances….In a word, what we must do, if we believe in states’ rights, is to provide more in the way of executive responsibility – to give the states the right to govern.”
We should take these words to heart and ensure that we have balanced government, not one where the court dominates.