Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Listening in on Supreme Court Discussion on Charter Law

Update:  Story from The Capitol Record and link to oral arguments.

End of update.

Fascinating and yes, if you aren't a lawyer, somewhat hard to follow.  You are trying to quickly follow the line of argument and then, as well, the line of questioning.  (These are very rough notes as I was listening AND typing.)

I think even if I wasn't in the plaintiffs' corner against charter schools, I might give them more points if only because the lawyer who is arguing for the charters is being somewhat condescending to the Justices.

I think Rebecca Glasgow is sharp but I found her manner off-putting.  At one point, when Ms. Glasgow, told a Justice "you're wrong, " I saw a slight smile go across the Justice's face.  I think it was not a smile of happiness but wondering how a lawyer would talk to a justice in that manner.   Her argument is that charter schools are just another in a long line of different kinds of public schools.

The Justices just peppered her (and interupted her repeatedly) with questions.  Far more questions than the plaintiffs.  I don't know if that's good or bad.

Most of the discussion is around funding and how money for public schools is funded in our state.  Ms. Glasgow at one point said there WAS a "common school" fund in the Constitution but then later said, there was no dedicated "common school fund."  Hard to follow.

Second LEV lawyer, Harry Korrell, who said that plaintiffs "picked over" the law to find challenges.

Supreme Court Justice Wiggins objected to that conclusion, citing the Constitution's sections in the argument.

Now Mr Korrell is challenging the case to be brought at all.

State said that if narrow reading to "common schools" is that charters aren't common schools, then there are other funds.

Back to Paul Lawrence for the plaintiffs.  $5.2B for public education and $1.7B for a variety of specialty programs.  35 cents of every education dollar for basic education is restricted common school money (even under State's definition).  Not nearly as many questions here as to the State.

He says charters are competing for common school dollars.  Narrow margin of victory indicates that voters may not have understood that money would leave existing public schools.

He closed saying the law should be struck down in its entirety.

I hope anyone who is a lawyer can watch it and tell me what you think.  


Anonymous said...

Harry Korrell? Dino Rossi's lawyer in 2004. Let's hope he has the same success now as he did then.

-- Ivan Weiss

Voted NO said...

There is a clause in I 1240 that would allow for charter schools to continue receiving increased funding.

I found the pro charter attorney was shrill.

Eric B said...

Telling a supreme court justice flat out that they are wrong is a poor move. The majority of the justices are by definition right. That said, people skills shouldn't influence the justices' decision, not to say that they don't.

Anonymous said...

Jessica Skelton is one of the attorneys representing the plaintiffs. Rebecca Glasgow was the attorney who presented the argument for the state. I think a correction is probably in order.


Melissa Westbrook said...

Sorry, I was watching and typing; must have mixed them up.

Oy said...

Wasn't funding from the timber industry added into the educational pot during the last legislative period. It was interesting to note that funding from timber was available for education-- and it isn't tax dollars.

I'm not a lawyer and the argument was very difficult to follow. It would appear that the timber dollars would be provided to charter schools. Not sure.

Charlie Mas said...

Timber taxes have been dedicated to school construction for decades. I don't know if this is what Oy is referencing or not.