Ring of Conservative Sites Ring of Conservative Sites
JOIN!

[ Prev | Skip Prev | Prev 5 | List |
Rand | Next 5 | Skip Next | Next ]

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Florida's No-Voucher Ruling

The Florida Supreme Court recently ruled that its voucher system was unconsitutional as it breached their law that states that Florida will provide:

"a uniform, efficient, safe, secure and high quality system of free public schools that allows students to obtain a high quality education."

Explains Andrew Coulson of the Cato Institute writng in the WSJ:

Florida's Supreme Court was not, after all, the first to consider this issue. In Jackson v. Benson, the Wisconsin Supreme Court upheld Milwaukee's voucher program for private schools, even though Wisconsin is one of the 14 other states with a uniformity clause. The court in Jackson, like Justices Bell and Cantero, concluded that only public schools were required to be uniform. One state's rulings are not binding in another, but the Wisconsin case demonstrates a reasonable interpretation of a uniformity clause that is compatible with school vouchers.

Coulson states that Florida's rules of legislative oversight:

In a dissenting opinion joined by Justice Raoul Cantero, Justice Kenneth Bell argued that there was no "textual or historical" basis for that inference. In fact, it should not have mattered who was right, because lorida case law admonishes the courts to adopt any reasonable interpretation of a statute that supports its constitutionality. Instead, the majority in Bush v. Holmes appears to have looked for an excuse to do the opposite.

My question in the consitutional interpretation is whether the words could have more easily stated what was meant. By this I mean, could the Florida Consitution have stated that only public schools will provide education? This wording about uniformity tends to seek a base of quality. It is more strained reading of guiding language that was used to reach a political end. This is not unusual of the Florida Supreme Court.

The Court tipped its hand during oral argument:

At one point, an unnamed justice asked the attorney for voucher opponents: "You would agree, would you not, that whether [voucher schools] have been an overwhelming success or an utter failure, is, really, irrelevant to whether the program is constitutional." The answer was a resounding "yes." In other words, legislators may not consider alternative educational arrangements, no matter how effective they might be.

Anyone who saw John Stossel's groundbreaking report on 20-20 Friday night knows that the quality of public education has been on a downward spiral since the 1970's.

Ring of Conservative Sites Ring of Conservative Sites
JOIN!

[ Prev | Skip Prev | Prev 5 | List |
Rand | Next 5 | Skip Next | Next ]