Monday, June 16, 2014

Why Conservatives Should Not Love the Vergara Decision

Over at the National Review, Rick Hess catches what conservatives should have noticed before they started applauding the Vergara decision.

While I am clearly someone who isn't a fan of that decision, I was surprised that some conservatives were not also at the very least nervous about it, given that it involved

         1) Serious judicial activism in the service of
         2) Extending government control over anything it feels like
         3) Based on made up non-facts

The rationale behind the Vergara decision could become the rationale behind any number of decisions that conservatives might not be so happy about. If we are going to say that the courts have the power to rewrite the rules of schools in any area for any sort of reasons that are not even supported with actual facts, I see no limits to what the courts could do.

Some of what I imagine is pretty fanciful and unlikely (the state of California owes every of-age poor student a car to drive to school), but some is not. If we are going to talk about civil rights being violated by lesser facilities at a particular school, it seems absolutely no stretch at all for the court to step in and say that David Welch and his hedge fund friends are going to start forking over school tax money until every school in every neighborhood is just as well-funded as the schools in California's richest neighborhoods.

Hess has his own list of nightmares.

If plaintiffs pick the right judge and present the right experts, can they get judges to require that preschool teachers serving poor or minority children have a teaching credential from a school of education? Can judges order schools to adopt the Common Core if they think that will help ensure that all students are held to an equal standard? Can judges order legislators to double teacher pay if that’s what they think it will take to ensure that poor and minority students have good teachers?

He's right. And the list can get a lot longer, because if we're allowed to use made up numbers and fake facts to make our case, the sky's the limit.

Conservatives and liberals both have a long, troubled tradition of choosing victory over principles, and it hasn't helped anyone in the long run. I'm not a fan of sticking to principles even in the face of common sense and reality, but some days it seems that our whole political spectrum is a muddy mess, united by the principle of "Hey, whatever, as long as we get what we want."

Almost everybody should be unhappy with the Vergara decision for one reason or another. Some of us just aren't ready to admit it yet.

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