In the August 2 Primary Election, Greg Zempel is running for State Supreme Court against the incumbent Chief Justice. To understand how crucial this election is, please read this important message from State Representative Matt Manweller concerning the State Supreme Court:
By Matt Manweller, July 18:
“The Washington State Supreme Court issued its latest ‘McCleary ruling’ last Thursday. In doing so, they continued their tradition of exhibiting a fundamental and disturbing lack of understanding with respect to public policy, taxation, and the most simple principles of state governance.
“On one level, they simply ordered a hearing for September 7th in which the state is supposed to answer some questions about education funding. Although reasonable on the surface, they have demanded answers to questions that no one, and I mean NO ONE can answer on September 7th, creating an almost Kafkaesque theater of the absurd.
“There are so many things wrong with the Court’s request, it’s hard to find a place to start. But here is a quick attempt.
“1) The Court wants to know and be briefed on the State’s plan to fund their demands. Well, wouldn’t we all. But who exactly is to give this report? According to court procedures this would come from the Attorney General. The only problem is that the Attorney General has NO IDEA what the state’s plan is to fund the Court’s demands. You see, the Attorney General is not a member of the Legislature. He will be briefing the Court with NO KNOWLEDGE of our plans. Why? Because the Legislature does not know what its plans are right now. In fact, the 2017 Legislature DOES NOT EXIST. The Court may have forgotten, but we have these little things called ‘elections’ in November where the people will be choosing the 2017 Legislature. Do you know who is going to be elected? Do you know how they will vote on the education budget? Well, neither do I and neither does the Attorney General. So what exactly is he supposed to tell the Court? The fact that the Court does not know these simple facts about how the state functions is simply embarrassing.
“2) It doesn’t matter what is said in the hearing. It is not binding on anyone. Whatever plan is offered to the Court in the September hearing (by some guy who isn’t a member of the Legislature) will be subject to a million hurdles and changes. The plan, in the form of a bill, can be amended in both houses. It can be vetoed by the Governor. There can be line-item vetoes by the Governor. It can FAIL in either body. But trust me, whatever is ‘briefed’ in September will NOT be the final solution. Legislation is like making sausage and you don’t know what you are going to get until all the deals are made, the revenue forecast is finalized and final votes are taken. The briefing in September will have as much legitimacy as a Nigerian prince offering you a million dollar inheritance via email.
“3) The Court seems to believe that the task force, set up under Senate Bill 6195 to study financing options for education, is somehow an indicator of legislative intent. It’s not. The current task force, created by law last year to look at funding solutions, does NOT speak for the Legislature. No committee can speak for the body as a whole. Committees recommend. The Legislature adopts. Any first year political science student can tell you this. You would think that at least one state supreme court justice would have as much political knowledge as an 18 year old. You would be wrong.
“Once again, the Court has reminded citizens that they are not intellectually suited to do their job. One of my favorite lines from The West Wing is when President Bartlet commented ‘He has a 22 caliber mind in a 357 world.’ This is an apt description of our state supreme court. Two years ago, after issuing another erroneous ‘Order,’ the Chairman of the Appropriations Committee had to write a blog post instructing the Court to turn the Excel sheet over … they were reading it backwards. They simply lack the intellectual fire power to grasp complicated policy dilemmas. But they also fail to understand taxation policy, educational policy, and most surprisingly, legal procedure.”