:: Monday, July 14, 2003 ::
If you think that the US Supreme Court is out of control, you should look at Nevada's State Supreme Court.
A handful of legislators had promised their voters that they would not raise taxes. They opposed the new budget, because, as one legislator said, 'we cannot pass an education budget without the revenue to support it. That would be like writing a check, when we know we don't have the money in our account.'
Since 2/3 of the legislature must approve any tax increase, these leaders were able to stop the new taxes. But rather than reach an agreement with the people's representatives, Governor Guinn filed suit against them, arguing that since the constitution requires the legislature to fund public schools, the court should simply order the budget passed.
The court agreed, and ordered the legislature to pass the budget under simple majority rule. Since 'the procedural two-thirds revenue vote requirement in effect denies the public its expectation of access to public education,' said the court, 'the two-thirds requirement must yield to the specific substantive educational right.'
This is an unprecedented and extreme ruling, which ignores fundamental principles of democratic government.
As a follow up story, this should come as no surprise to anyone.
LAS VEGAS — Gov. Kenny Guinn’s approval ratings have slipped 10 percent since the start of the legislative session in February, with less than half of Nevadans saying he is doing an excellent or good job, according to a Las Vegas Review-Journal/reviewjournal.com poll published Saturday.
Update: The Wall Street Journal has an opinion on this issue:
In a state that has given us the quickie divorce, legalized prostitution and gambling, you'd think it would be hard to raise eyebrows. But compared to their Supreme Court, Nevada's sin industries are looking downright respectable. In a landmark 6-to-1 ruling Thursday, Nevada's justices came up with a real doozy: Essentially they ordered state legislators to violate the state constitution they have sworn to uphold.
We are in a lot of trouble here, folks; make no bones about it! The constitutional crisis that is developing in the judiciary could have ramifications far beyond taxes and marriage laws. The very pillars of our government and society are under assault. If balance is not restored, the foundations of this nation will crumble. The rule of law must triumph over the "rule of lawyers". If we continue to allow the courts of this nation to subvert the will of the people by countermanding the decisions of our duly elected representatives in this manner, we are through as a free nation.
Update: Eugene is pretty steamed about this too. The Volokh Conspiracy
:: Mark 10:01 AM [+] ::