Thursday, June 07, 2007

Shurtleff fires special DAGs for disagreeing

As Ethan reported, Utah AG Shurtleff fired not one, but two Deputy Attorneys General for advising the school board that Shurtleff's opinion letter was full of it. The Salt Lake Tribune fills in the details of Ethan's exclusive.
The state school board, which is holding its June meeting today, stopped what it was doing and went into closed executive session after receiving the letter. It discussed the matter for more than an hour before announcing it would continue to use Lear and Hill as legal counsel and would seek further discussion with the AG.
The board ignored Shurtleff's advice during a special meeting May 29 and voted to issue an order saying it couldn't and shouldn't implement a voucher system until a court sorts out legal concerns. That vote led Shurtleff to say he could no longer defend the board's actions. It also appears to have triggered today's letter.

I am glad he created an environment where the school board can get a second opinion on his erroneous legal advice. As I have pointed out before, as a matter of statutory interpretation under Utah law, it is clear that the referendum would repeal the underlying bill and that the second bill is an amendment to the first.

Now you say, but Shurtleff is the Attorney General of the state of Utah, and has been practicing law for decades, and you haven't even passed the Bar yet (so why should I believe you). Well, the AG is a politician (he was a SL County Councilman before becoming AG), one who is allied to the power structure that got us into this mess in the first place. He supported vouchers in the past. So it appears that my taking a course in legislative process and statutory interpretation, where I received the highest grade of anyone else in the course, reigns supreme.

Sure, I have never been a fan of vouchers, but I am not twisting facts to say that vouchers are illegal. I think it is arguable that they violate the Utah Constitution on separation of church and state, even if SCOTUS said they do not violate the US Constitution's 1st Amendment. And even though I disagree with SCOTUS, I am not going to try to distinguish Cleveland's system and our system to make a federal constitutional claim, because it is pretty dishonest.

It is too bad, Shurtleff is being petty by demoting and punishing those who disagree with him. It is fine for him to say you are all liable now since you didn't follow my advice, but he didn't need to de-deputize them just to score political points. Even if it made Ethan happy.

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