Center for American Progress

The Conservative Backlash Against Courts that Order Education Reform

The Conservative Backlash Against Courts that Order Education Reform

A new CAP issue brief discusses how conservatives with an austerity agenda make it difficult for judges who rule in favor of equal funding for education.

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Conservative governors and legislators across America are angry at the third branch of government. Some of these lawmakers are pushing legislation that could throw judges off the bench, while others are pushing to limit judicial authority. In one state, a governor unilaterally removed a justice of the state supreme court. Another Republican governor has publicly vowed to defy a ruling in a pending case if he does not like the outcome. Many of these proposals violate the separation of powers principles in their respective state constitutions. But some of these politicians want to amend their state constitutions to give the executive and legislative branches exclusive control over judicial appointments.

This conservative backlash is a response to court rulings that require the legislatures to spend more money on education or to distribute those funds more equally. These proposals send a message—a warning to judges that legislators have the means to punish courts that rule against the state.

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