Friday, May 14, 2010

Legislating From The Bench Revisited

Just read a very interesting piece on the New Jersey Supreme Court at NJ Spotlight, a really good website for Jersey news.

Anyhoo, an article by John Mooney suggests that Governor Christie's concern is not gay marriage, but Abbott v. Burke, the New Jersey Supreme Court decision that requires the state to tax rich suburbs and send the money into urban school districts.  So, sacking Justice Wallace was really about getting someone on the court who will vote to undo Abbott v. Burke, not about sending a message on gay marriage (although I'm sure the gay marriage issue was a welcome bonus).

That makes sense.  The Governor wants to send 24,000 students from failing urban public schools to private schools, thus diverting State funds from public schools to private schools.  He wants to break the back of the NJEA by capping raises and giving municipalities a stronger hand in union negotiations.  And now he wants to undue the obligation that the State tax wealthy suburbs to finance urban schools.

So everything is of a piece, designed to lower the tax burden on wealthy towns and people by undermining the ability of public employees and urban public schools to continue to command more and more of the State's resources.

What we are witnessing is a complete re-organizing of the State along radical right lines.  The single-mindedness of this Governor would be impressive if it wasn't so frightening.

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