Wall Street Journal: Educated, But Still Haven't Really Learned

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The Wall Street Journal corrects its error from last week on the Constitution guaranteeing K-12 public education to all; but as Timothy Sandefur relates, they remain, alas, obdurate in their error. May the Founding Fathers have mercy on their souls, and I recommend for them the penance of reciting ten 9th Amendments and 20 Article One, Section 8s of the Constitution–and eventually running an accurate correction.

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  1. It’s cute when people think the Constitution still means anything at all.

  2. I saw some guy on BookTV talking about how the Bill of Rights are essentially crap, because they were created to appease a couple of states that didn’t agree with the COnstitution. This guy practically rips to shreds any positive notion people have had towards to the Constitution. His name is Calvin H. Johnson. I looked up his book on Amazon, and he’s charging $75.00 for this 300+ pages of Constitutional hatred, essentially.
    In case you care:
    Righteous Anger at the Wicked States

  3. Some states do provide for a state constitutional right to a K-12 education.

  4. Some states do provide for a state constitutional right to a K-12 education.

    True, but I think most people interpret “constitutional right” written without qualification to mean a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

    Or am I the only one?

  5. Some states do provide for a state constitutional right to a K-12 education.

    Threadjack/

    NH’s state constitution says:

    [Art.] 83.
    “…it shall be the duty of the legislators and magistrates, in all future periods of this government, to cherish the interest of literature and the sciences, and all seminaries and public schools, to encourage private and public institutions, rewards, and immunities for the promotion of agriculture, arts, sciences, commerce, trades, manufactures, and natural history of the country;”

    And yet somehow, the SCONH re-interpreted this to read that school funding should be equalized statewide. Go figure!

    /Threadjack

  6. Hakluyt,

    In addition to what Isaac Bartram said, the word “Constitution” in the article is in the singular; only had it been plural one could make the case that it was referring to the states’ Constitutions.

  7. “THE U.S. SUPREME COURT found in Plyler vs. Doe in 1982 that it is unconstitutional to deny a public education to children who are in the U.S. illegally, based on the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution”

    What the fuck? No, no, no. You can’t just conveniently omit the second part of the conclusion, namely, …it is unconstitutional to deny a public education children who are in the US illegally, if said public education is being offered to others.”

    If I said to my spouse, “if you go to the store, you have to pick up some bread”, does that mean that she is obligated to go to the store? No. Stupid WSJ.

  8. does that mean that she is obligated to go to the store?

    It doesn’t even mean that she’s obligated to pick up some bread, if she does go to the store. Unless your saying so has the force of law. Wouldn’t work in my house.

  9. It’s cute when people think the Constitution still means anything at all.

    The Constitution only means what the unelected Gang of Nine says it means.

    If they say it means a guarantee of K-12 education, then it does, even though it doesn’t. They don’t say this though. 🙂

    If they say it means that you can’t yell fire in a crowded theater even though the 1st amendment says you can, then it must be so, even if it isn’t.

    If they say a woman’s right to an abortion shall not be denied or abridged by the government, then it must say so, even though it doesn’t.

    If they say the 4th amendment is cow dung, then it must be so, even though it isn’t.

    Fortunately the unelected Gang of Nine have secret decoder rings that allow them to see encrypted constitutional provisions the rest of us can’t see.

  10. crimethink, etc.,

    You know, I italicized those words for a reason. I was merely digressing from the main topic.

  11. MP,

    A lot of the state Supreme Court rulings on education have argued that their state constitutions require equalized school funding based on language like that. Texas and Vermont are two that come to mind.

  12. I think most people interpret “constitutional right” written without qualification to mean a right guaranteed by the Constitution of the United States.

    Actually, I think most people interpret it to mean a blank check for whatever they think is right.

  13. A lot of the state Supreme Court rulings on education have argued that their state constitutions require equalized school funding based on language like that. Texas and Vermont are two that come to mind.

    I’ve only read the (ludicrous) logic in the NH Claremont II decision (Claremont School District, et al. v. Governor). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that other state SCs arrived at the same tortured logic.

    Fortunately the unelected Gang of Nine have secret decoder rings that allow them to see encrypted constitutional provisions the rest of us can’t see.

    Love ’em or hate ’em, I’ll still take an independent judiciary over an elected one.

  14. Love ’em or hate ’em, I’ll still take an independent judiciary over an elected one.

    I used to think that way too, in fact we were all brought up that way for the most part.

    But then I realized I prefer an elcted legislature to an unelected one. I think any Supreme that clearly violates his oath to uphold the Constitution by creating laws should be impeached. This has its dangers of course, so some sort of supermajority would need to be there for it to happen, but it seems that each day something new happens to make the Constitution less a thing of established law and more a thing of retroactive whimsy.

  15. MP,

    Doesn’t NH have an equal protection clause in its constitution, too?

  16. Doesn’t NH have an equal protection clause in its constitution, too?

    And? Equal protection implies that the law plays no favorites. The state cannot be said to be “playing favorites” simply because it does not assume the responsibility for providing education. “Playing favorites” is a positive act.

  17. happyjuggler0,

    True, but it’s not like the elected legislature of Congress is more respectful of the Constitution than the unelected Supreme Court.

    As I’ve said before, I’m not a fan of democracy so much as a fan of liberty, and while the former is pretty easy to keep in place once it gets established, the latter is an endangered species wherever it rears up its little head. So I don’t have any answers.

  18. MP,

    I think joe’s point is that if the state is going to fund education at all it must provide such funding equally for all people in the state. Otherwise it would indeed be denying some persons the equal protection of the (school funding) laws.

  19. I think joe’s point is that if the state is going to fund education at all it must provide such funding equally for all people in the state. Otherwise it would indeed be denying some persons the equal protection of the (school funding) laws.

    Yes, but the state Constitutional issue at hand is that the NH Supreme Court invalidated the funding of schools by local property taxes on the grounds that the language in the state constitution mandated that it was the state’s responsibility to equalize funding. They did this because they combined “equal protection” with the aforementioned quoted language. That language, in my view, in no way obligated the state to provide public education in the first place.

  20. I’ve only read the (ludicrous) logic in the NH Claremont II decision (Claremont School District, et al. v. Governor). I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that other state SCs arrived at the same tortured logic.

    The only reason states are doing this is to give an appearance of doing something, in place of attacking the real problem – which is that motivated parents have separated themselves from unmotivated parents. A district full of unmotivated (poor, single, etc etc) parents = bad schools. There is basically no acceptable solution to this problem, given human nature.

  21. “They did this because they combined “equal protection” with the aforementioned quoted language.”

    Let me get this straight. The constitution requires the state to provide a benefit, public education. And it requires the state to provide equal protection in the provision of public benefits.

    And your contention is that it is “ludicrous” for the state courts to conclude that the state is obligated to provide public public education in an equiable way.

    OK.

  22. The constitution requires the state to provide a benefit, public education.

    joe,

    Please show me where this requirement is in the NH Constitution, because it clearly isn’t in the language I quoted above.

  23. You have an odd definition of “clear,” because that’s pretty obviously a mandate that the state pay for schools to me. And to every justice who’s ever looked at the question, as well.

    But be that as it may, my point was to call you out on your dishonest when you wrote that the decision requiring equal funding was based on the education language, when in fact, it was based on the equal protection clause that was at the heart of the decision.

  24. …unless, of course, you wish to interpret the language as a mandating legislators to feel certain things.

  25. You have an odd definition of “clear,” because that’s pretty obviously a mandate that the state pay for schools to me. And to every justice who’s ever looked at the question, as well.

    wow. wow. So that’s how Progressives think. I’d dearly love to hear how cherish=require.

    And as for “every justice”, that’s a heck of a sweeping claim, considering that Claremont II was only decided in 1997. Seems that NH moved along for 200 years without your supposed mandate.

  26. I think we should all accept that joe is an expert on the history, meaning, etc. of the NH constitution.

  27. joe,

    And to every justice who’s ever looked at the question, as well.

    Just to bust your bubble a bit, but Claremont II included a dissent.

  28. And just to give folks joe a clue about the Claremont series of cases (which they had likely never heard of before they were discussed here), as of 2005 there have been at least ten seperate decisions stemming from the original Claremont decision in 1993.

  29. You have an odd definition of “clear,” because that’s pretty obviously a mandate that the state pay for schools to me.

    joe, I see “cherish” and I see “reward” in the New Hampshire language quoted above. I don’t see “fund”, “pay for”, or anything similar.

  30. Well, RC, MP, you are entitled to your opinion.

    I just hope you realize that it’s a rather eccentric one. I doubt anything I could say would change your mind about the correct interpretation, but grant me this: it is hardly accurate to claim that the reading adhered to by the vast majority of both legal scholars and laymen who’ve looked at it is “ludicrous,” and the fringe opinion you adopt – whatever its ultimate merits – is the single, obvious, clear reading of the text.

  31. I frankly don’t read the New Hampshire language as calling for any sort of universal education – which begs the question of what exactly it does say, because otherwise it seems suspiciously content-free.

  32. joe,

    …adhered to by the vast majority of both legal scholars and laymen…

    First it was “no justice,” which you were fisked on, and now its a “vast majority” of “legal scholars and laymen.”

    I have to ask, how much actual legal commentary on the Claremont decisions have you read?

    …is the single, obvious, clear reading of the text.

    This sort of circular reasoning is hilarious. Its clear because its clear!

  33. Er, first it was “every justice.”

  34. Anyway, if it was as clear as joe claims that it is he wouldn’t have to depend on these appeals to vague authority as the main prop for his contentions. He’d be able to point to the language itself and detail why it means X, Y, Z, etc.

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