“It ain’t over ’til we say it’s over”

by David Safier

Just when you thought it was safe to stop thinking about vouchers in Arizona after yesterday's State Supreme Court decision that they're unconstitutional, comes this:

Ryan said there is a way to make the vouchers legal: persuade voters to amend the constitution to alter or repeal the ban.

That may be the next step.

"We will certainly consider all our options," said Tim Keller of the Institute for Justice, who tried to convince the high court the programs are constitutional.

And Ron Johnson, who lobbies on behalf of the state's Catholic bishops for the church's schools, said the question of putting the issue on the 2010 ballot may depend on what else voters will be asked to approve that year.

It's their right, of course. But how will a ballot measure play at a time when public schools are hurting for money? Will they argue we'll save education dollars? Will they pull out the widows and orphans defense? ("How dare you deny these poor children the education rich kids get at private schools?") Or will they decide it's a fight they don't want to pick right now?

0 responses to ““It ain’t over ’til we say it’s over”

  1. Hey Thane. Have you ever been to Haiti?

  2. @AzBlueMeanie “The actual dispute here is not about school funding per se, but preserving the principle of separation of church and state, which was enshrined in the Arizona Constitution.”

    Not just once, but twice.

    Article 2, Section 12: …..No public money or property shall be appropriated for or applied to any religious worship, exercise, or instruction, or to the support of any religious establishment…..

    Article 9, Section 10: No tax shall be laid or appropriation of public money made in aid of any church, or private or sectarian school, or any public service corporation.

    It’s not just a church / state issue though. (specifically mentions “or private school”)

    They’re going to have an uphill battle trying to get people to support a repeal of those constitutional protections in a year of heavy (and heavily publicized) public school funding cuts, and a terrible economy where most people would consider private schools a luxury reserved for the children of the “elite”.

  3. David Safier

    One difference, Thane, between Rs shouting “widows and orphans” and Ds saying it’s for the children. Rs trot children and the poor out as a diversion. Just look at their voting record on children’s health care and other children’s services. Ds actually mean it. Whether you agree with their policies or not, Ds are pretty consistent in the area of providing services for those who can’t provide for themselves.

  4. Q: Will they argue we’ll save education dollars?
    A: Yes

    Q: Will they pull out the widows and orphans defense?
    A: Yes, although this is hardly different from the Democrats constant claim “It’s for the children.”

    I’d say if Tim Keller and company can rewrite this program in the form of a tax credit the government owned and operated education crowd will have a hard time claiming a nexus between a government appropriation and a private school. I would imagine this is exactly what they are likely to do.

    As for separation of church and state, it is a fine idea to mandate government neutrality (and non-involvement) when it comes to religion. The fact is that it makes just as good an idea to mandate government neutrality (and non-involvement) when it comes to education.

    http://www.schoolandstate.org/

  5. AzBlueMeanie

    Any attempt to repeal this Constitutional provision would revisit the “separation of church and state” doctrine. There are many Republicans who would like to impose a theocracy, but there are many more Americans who firmly believe in one of the bedrock founding principles of this country.

    The actual dispute here is not about school funding per se, but preserving the principle of separation of church and state, which was enshrined in the Arizona Constitution.