Friday, May 11, 2007
Since the Supreme court's plate is pretty full halting the death penalty, it avoids complete chaos and decides not to step into one of the school funding lawsuits. Nebraska Coalition for Ed. Equity v. Heineman, S-05-1357, 273 Neb. 531Justice Connolly backs off a little and a unanimous Nebraska Supreme Court agrees that whether the State is funding education equitably is a problem for the Unicameral and school districts, not the Courts. Still it's hard to keep this crusading Justice who is used to righting every wrong down. Note his peculiar lament in the concluding paragraph of his opinion: "The Nebraska Constitution (says education is the) Legislature's (job) and fails to provide judicially discernible and manageable standards for determining what level of public education the Legislature must provide (emphasis supplied.) This court could not make that determination without deciding matters of educational policy in disregard of the policy and fiscal choices that the Legislature has already made. Nor could we impose a constitutional standard of a “quality” education without ignoring the people’s clear rejection of that standard in 1996. We conclude, as the district court did, that the claims therefore present nonjusticiable political questions." The Omaha Schools funding lawsuit will proceed on equal protection grounds.