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Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
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Copyright © 2003 Express Publishing Inc.
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For the week of September 24 - 30, 2003


Lawsuit is absurd

First-year law students usually hear the confounding tale of the burglar wounded by a shotgun rigged to fire when anyone broke into the dwelling. The burglar turned around and sued property owners for his wounds.

Now Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has filed litigation that surely will be urban legend grist for law reviews.

Wasden has sued seven of Idaho’s 114 school districts to force repair of unsafe schools. The districts, along with others, have been in court for 13 years trying to pin responsibility for school safety costs where it belongs—on the Legislature.

District Judge Deborah Bail so ordered several years ago. But because Judge Bail isn’t made of sterner stuff, lawmakers slipped through her noose while she dilly-dallied over how to sanction defiant legislators: They turned around and enacted a law to avoid her ruling and force schools to raise taxes to bear repair costs.

Instead of arguing for the public interest, Wasden went along with legislators and now will sue school districts (with approval of the state Supreme Court) that originally sued the state.

Judge Bail can be faulted for not enforcing her ruling years ago. The state’s high court can be faulted for approving the burdensome new law.

But ultimate blame rests with Republican legislators, whose raging hostility toward public schools is exceeded only by their reckless mismanagement of Idaho finances.




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The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.