Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Idaho leaders above the law?

As the reddest of the red Republican states, Idaho has the image of a law-and-order state where God, family and morality often are mentioned when lawmakers debate new legislation and politicians establish their virtues during elections.

But is law and order just a myth, a convenient pretense?

It seems decidedly so.

Since a lawsuit was filed 17 years ago, Idaho's public schools have been trying to persuade, then force through litigation, the state Legislature to meet its obligation to properly fund school repairs as required by the Idaho Constitution.

Lower courts repeatedly ruled in favor of the schools over the years. The state Supreme Court finally added its own imprimatur two years ago by upholding previous court decisions.

But state lawmakers have ignored the courts, and even persuaded the state attorney general to file a frivolous action with a shaky legal justification for avoiding judges' orders and thus avoiding budgeting funds.

Now, a schools group, Idaho Schools for Equal Educational Opportunity, has filed a federal court lawsuit seeking to have the Idaho Supreme Court compel the state to comply with the string of earlier court rulings.

This is a humiliation for the entire state and should embarrass lawmakers who've stalled and defied the court and the law.

Schools should not have to literally drag the people who make the laws into court and force them to meet one of their foremost obligations, serving public education and the children of Idaho.

Idaho lawmakers are acting like deadbeats trying to avoid child support payments.

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