Legislating from the Bench: Tax Increase Ordered by State Supreme CourtMost kids are taught at a young age the way our government works. My 6th grade daughter understands the separation of powers between the Legislative, Judicial and Executive branches of government. Unfortunately, the Washington State Supreme Court Justices seem to have missed out on that Social Studies class and have threatened to hold our Legislature in Contempt of Court if they don’t find another $5 billion to fund Education by April 30th of this year.

My daughter also understands the basic rule enshrined in our constitution that gives the Legislature, not the Judicial branch control of the purse. The Legislature has the power to tax, set priorities and expend tax dollars; not the State Supreme Court.

For our Supreme Court to step in on this level and threaten the Legislature is an extreme overreach and threat to our right of self governance embodied in the US Constitution. This is simply horrifying.

The Supreme Court has been overtly politicized and the timing of this decision must be brought in to question from a political perspective. Why, in an election year, just days before the Legislature is set to convene it’s short 60 day session would our Supreme Court feel the need to step in and dictate it’s schedule? The Legislature, after increasing education funding by 1 billion dollars last year had planned to debate this issue at the beginning of the next biennium where long term issues like this are debated. Does the Supreme Court want only politics to be the top priority, or the long term legislative commitment to education? You decide.

Justice James Johnson, the lone dissenting vote in the 8-1 dictatorial “ruling” writes:

“Put simply, the founders did not intend for this court to act in such a role, and more importantly, prohibited exercise of such self-granted power. With zero information regarding financial constraints and plans for future budgets, it is impossible for us to evaluate the Legislature’s progress. We are not – and should not be acting as – managers of the state’s coffers.”

Our constitution was purposefully written to seperate political power so that no branch of government has the ability to dictatorially govern the people. The power is inherently with the people, not the government. Is it the Supreme Court’s job to micro-manage and dictate our Legislatures business? Is it right for the Justices to completely ignore the intent of the separation of powers doctrine that is enshrined in our State’s Constitution? You decide……

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