NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


February 4, 2005

Activist judges are taking the law into their own hands, particularly when it comes to public schools, says columnist Phyllis Schlafly. They are handing down verdicts on tax and spending matters that really belong to state legislatures.

Currently, 24 states are facing lawsuits from special-interest groups attempting to extract money for public schools through activist judges. Taxpayers and the legislators who represent them have little say in the matter:

  • Kansas, which already spends $8,206 per pupil on education, must cough up an additional $850 million more to give children a "suitable" education, as ordered by the State Supreme Court.
  • A New York Court of Appeals and a court-appointed panel decided that the state should spend a total of almost $15 billion on classrooms, libraries and other facilities to give children a "sound, basic education."
  • The state of Kentucky is still in court 16 years after judges intervened to tell lawmakers how to run their schools, while a New Jersey lawsuit filed in 1981 has returned to court nine times.

State Supreme Courts in North Carolina and Montana also are ordering more spending on public schools, while trial judges in Massachusetts and Texas have handed down edicts as well.

These cases are similar to the judiciary activism of the 1970s, when courts ordered more money to be spent on achieving "racial balance" in schools. In one famous case, the people of Missouri had to cough up billions in tax money to build an extravagant but racially-balanced, school. Twenty years later, the Kansas City school is still segregated and posting low test scores, notes Schlafly.

Source: Phyllis Schlafly, "Supremacist Judges are Running our Schools," January 24, 2005,


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