Thursday, September 4, 2008

One Ruling Closer to Judicial Oligarchy

Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush called the ruling "heartbreaking," but "infuriating" better describes the Florida Supreme Court's haughty decision to summarily bump three education-related measures from November's ballot, without even deigning to explain itself. "The court did not explain its reasoning," reports The New York Times. "Instead it issued a one-page ruling saying that the amendments could not go on the November ballot and that a full opinion would be issued later."

The ruling is more than just a setback for the cause of school choice in Florida, and a potential death blow to a nascent school voucher program Bush has championed since he was governor there, which Democrats and teachers unions have tried mightily to derail. It marks another alarming lurch in the direction of a judicial oligarchy in the Unites States, in which arrogant judges become the final arbiters in every policy dispute, or, as in this case, preempt the peoples' right to decide for themselves.

The least a court can do, if it's going to deny the people a vote, is explain its reasoning. Declining to do so isn't just insulting, but suggests that the court is acting in a purely reactionary fashion, motivated more by ideology than legal or constitutional principle. But judges could not so rule -- and would not now effectively rule the country -- unless there were interest groups (in this case, teachers' unions) determined to win in the courtroom what they fear they can't win in the court of public opinion. And these groups, as well as the Americans who lend them financial and moral support, are also guilty of subverting our democratic institutions.

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