Washington State One Step Closer to a Constitutional Crisis on McCleary

What the headline says:

The Washington Supreme Court on Thursday ordered lawmakers to explain why they haven’t followed its orders to fix the way Washington pays for public education.

The court has ordered the state to appear before it on Sept. 3 and show the court how it has followed its orders in the 2012 McCleary decision or face contempt.

Of course, the legislature is in contempt of the court’s order on McCleary, but the court doesn’t really have any good options to enforce it. Of the remedies Chief Justice Barbara Madsen lists in her rather terse order summoning “the State” to appear before the court at a September 3 “show cause hearing,” only the first is appealing, none would be effective, and several would realize the Republican wet dream of using McCleary as an opportunity to starve the rest of state government.

  1. Imposing monetary or other contempt sanctions;
  2. Prohibiting expenditures on certain other matters until the Court’s constitutional ruling is complied with;
  3. Ordering the legislature to pass legislation to fund specific amounts or remedies;
  4. Ordering the sale of State property to fund constitutional compliance;
  5. Invalidating education funding cuts to the budget;
  6. Prohibiting any funding of an unconstitutional education system; and
  7. Any other appropriate relief.

I’m all for imposing contempt sanctions. Throw the house and senate leadership in jail, if you can. That at least would be a spectacle on a scale worthy of the impending crisis. But simply forcing the state to spend money it doesn’t have would only pull billions from social services, higher education, and other critical programs, while selling state property in order to fund current expenses is nothing less than one generation ripping off all those generations that precede or succeed it.

No, the only solution is more revenue. And if the court can’t effectively order the legislature to raise taxes (or eliminate tax exemptions), then there’s no solving this crisis.

A few months ago I asked if state Democrats were prepared for the impending McCleary disaster? Of course, it was a rhetorical question. The answer is clearly “No.”


  1. 1


    Is withholding their salaries and expenses budget an option? Seems like that would be a good under-ass fire.

  2. 2

    ChefJoe spews:

    So, you’re going to wait until the legislative session is over and then have them all arrested ?

    Article II, Section 16 of the state constitution, which says lawmakers “shall be privileged from arrest in all cases except treason, felony and breach of the peace” while the Legislature meets. That section of the constitution also says legislators “shall not be subject to any civil process” during the session and the 15 days prior.

  3. 5

    Kstinky Sawant spews:

    Goldy’s going to be one step closer to a personal budgetary crisis once his savings run out and he has to go get an actual job.

    He stands as living proof that not everyone is worth $15 an hour.

  4. 6

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    @5 I made over $200/hr in the stock market today, and I fail to see how I’m worth it, as I do not work and produce nothing, and simply calling myself a “capitalist” adds no value to the economy. But it’s the system we have, for better of worse; capitalists get compensated even though we do no work and create no wealth, and workers don’t get compensated even though they do all the work and create all the wealth.

  5. 7

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    @5 I made over $200/hr in the stock market today, and I fail to see how I’m worth it, as I do not work and produce nothing, and simply calling myself a “capitalist” adds no value to the economy.

    So why don’t you send Goldy a monthly stipend for free leftist posting zone Goldy provides for your Rabbit droppings?

  6. 8

    Puddybud - The One The Only spews:

    How about the Court declaring that the $9 billion giveaway to Boeing was illegal?

    You forget all those machinist union DUMMOCRETINS who spend their money in the state. Well many spend machinist union money purchasing non-union made cars. Butt these workers want companies to purchase Boeing planes.

    And if this giveaway was repealed and Boeing moves… look at how many DUMMOCRETIN union jackbooted goosesteppers will be forced to leave King and Snohomish Counties? That won’t happen! No judge will kill the state of one of it’s prime money pits.