Back in 2001 one of the most striking legal decisions of the year came from 4th District Judge Deborah Bail when she bluntly - even fiercly - blasted the Idaho Legislature for what she said was its failure to properly fund the state's public schools.
The case was old even then, rolling back and forth through the court system for more than a decade already; and more than four more years has passed since then, before a state supreme court ruling. The question of whether the state has properly funded public schools has been the state's high court five times now - a stunning unwillingness, up to now, to make a clear decision.
Today, though, it made that decision, and it was the same one Bail made years ago. (She was explicitly upheld.) It was a clear decision: Four of the five voting members were in full agreement, and the one partial dissenter - Justice Jim Jones - disagreed with only a few parts of the majority finding.
That decision will set the Idaho Legislature, arriving for the 2006 session in less than three weeks, on its ear - and likely evolving into a corps of angry wasps.
The decision was awfully long in coming, but it is abundantly clear now. (more…)