In a win for voucher opponents, the Utah Supreme Court decided today that Utah's two voucher bills are joined at the hip -- and should live and die on the outcome of a Nov. 6 referendum vote.
The court said the referendum-proof law remaining in Utah code will also die if voters reject the original voucher law.
"If the voters choose to reject [the original voucher law, the amending voucher law] will not create an additional voucher program," said the court's written decision.
The decision came just hours after the court heard oral arguments on the issue from four separate parties, who each got 20 minutes. Justices asked all of them, in one way or another, how they expect the court to clean up the mess created by voucher statute remaining in Utah code.
What the article does not say is that this decision was unanimous 4-0, meaning even without one of the most liberal justices, Chief Justice Durham (who abstained for some reason), the court was unwilling to play politics with the state constitution and the common law.
Michael Leavitt appointee Associate Justice Michael Wilkins asked the obvious question: "Why isn't this a legislative problem?" asked Wilkins in oral arguments. "It would appear to me that the Legislature ... has produced ... what turns out to be a confusing situation. Why are we the ones who get to fix it by exceeding the authority the law gives us?" Yeah why is the legislature too chicken to face the fact that the people don't like their law and want to repeal it, so they created a clever "voucher bill" that really was an amendment.
It seems like you guys need to come up with a new lie now. I am expecting the racism argument, or maybe comparing the public school system to slavery, or maybe some babble about competition and parental choice.
We have a choice, it is called private schools. If you can afford them, or manage to get a scholarship/sponsorship, you get to go. Since Thomas Jefferson, we have believed in public schooling as a right for our children. In fact, it is found in most state constitutions, including Utah's.
"The Legislature shall provide for the establishment and maintenance of the state's education systems including: (a) a public education system, which shall be open to all children of the state; and (b) a higher education system. Both systems shall be free from sectarian control." Utah Const. Art. X, Sec. 1.
Oh and if it ever becomes necessary, remember this too "Neither the state of Utah nor its political subdivisions may make any appropriation for the direct support of any school or educational institution controlled by any religious organization." Utah Const. Art. X, Sec. 9.