Tuesday, July 24, 2012

The New Jersey Supreme Court Bounce

Here in New Jersey, we residents live subject to the decrees of our Supreme Court, which rules in ways that bear similarity to Alice in Wonderland. For example, the Court's Abbott decision is not applicable to ALL poor districts, but only the 17 or so "Abbott Districts." Why do these particular school districts get the benefit of extreme state largess and no others? Because they were the ones that were in the original suit - LUCKY! Make sense? Of course not, even assuming that the Abbott decisions make any kind of sense, which they certainly do not.

Most important, having adopted the simplistic formula that equates education with money, the self appointed rules of the kingdom of New Jersey have put the squeeze on, and the results haven't been pretty. I recall working with the New Jersey School Construction Corporation - the so-called experts in this agency simply forgot that part of the expense of building a school included land acquisition! Alice in Wonderland indeed - six billion spent and not much to show for it - in fact, land purchased by the SCC is still laying vacant waiting for schools that will never be built. The law of unintended consequences strikes again, as it has with everything the Court does.

Plus, the guiding principle of the Court has been to see everything from the Democratic left - the very liberal left, which believes government can solve any problem. Thus, and not mentioned is that the Court has never seen an environmental law that it didn't like and wouldn't uphold, no matter what the impact on property ownership. Thus the Court has upheld laws that have made it impossible to use land, but it also has made it functionally impossible to make a claim of regulatory takings - requiring not only that the laws and regulations leave the owner with no value whatsoever, but also that the owner go through the time and expense of having a development plan rejected, again and again. In the process, the Court has upheld laws that placed huge areas of the Republican part of New Jersey off limits to development, thus ensuring that the power stays in the Democratic urban areas.

The Court has adopted rulings that affect every area of life, from, as pointed out, zoning and education, but also reproductive health, going even further than Roe v, Wade. Every time the Court usurps another area given by the Constitution to the legislature, the people lose more liberty - there being no appeal from the real rulers of New Jersey.

The people of New Jersey have, of course, voted with their feet - even massive immigration didn't prevent the state from losing another Congressional seat after the last census. It is a trend likely to continue here in the Kingdom of the New Jersey Supreme Court.

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