Nevada’s Supreme Court justices heard arguments in two different cases this past week on whether to uphold the state’s education savings account (ESA) program as constitutional.
Paul Clement, a former U.S. solicitor general who defended the law on behalf of the Nevada attorney general, opened the first hearing, the case of Schwartz v. Lopez, by noting, “Nevada’s system for educating students in grades K through 12 is in a state of crisis. No one seriously disputes that reality. By many measures Nevada has the worst education system in the country. Nevada’s response to this crisis last year was a multi-faceted reform package with an innovative education savings account program at its core. But while the ESA program has raised the hopes of countless Nevada students and their patents, it has not gone into effect for one and only one reason — the district court’s counterintuitive reading of Article 11, Section 6.”
A Carson City judge had blocked the creation of ESAs over that portion of the state Constitution.
Clement said Section 6 requires the Legislature to do only three things: Fund public schools and universities. Fund public schools before any other appropriations. Fund public schools in an amount the “Legislature deems to be sufficient.”
Senate Bill 515, which established funding for the distributive school account (DSA), was the first appropriation bill passed, and the Legislature deemed it sufficient, Clement argued.
SB515 established a statewide average per pupil funding of about $5,700 in the DSA.
Under questioning by the justices, Clement also pointed out that the education savings account bill, Senate Bill 302, was passed three days prior to the appropriation bill. It set out that most students pulled from public schools and educated in private schools or at home could draw up to 90 percent of that $5,700, or about $5,100, for an ESA from DSA. Thus, lawmakers knew precisely what they were appropriating on a per pupil basis.
But District Judge James Wilson of Carson City in his injunction blocking enactment of the ESAs declared that “appropriation” means “to set apart for or assign to a particular purpose or use in exclusion of all others.”
Later, in the Supreme Court hearing, under questioning by Justice James Hardesty, attorney Tamerlin Godley, representing those trying to overturn the law, argued, “The first appropriation has to be only for the operation of the public schools. …The money can’t come out of public schools and it can’t diminish what they appropriated as sufficient …”
Clement countered that the Constitution does not say that the DSA has to be used for public schools exclusively. “DSA is just an account, and they put money in there for two purposes, knowing it was sufficient for both purposes,” he said. “And that’s the way it should be analyzed in that issue.”
Asked about the public school funding having to be first, Clement offered, “We think, just like at the Olympics, if there’s a tie for first, you’re still in first.”
Clement went on to argue that lawmakers did not know how many ESAs there would be so they funded both public schools and ESAs on a per pupil basis in the DSA account, deeming the funding sufficient for both purposes.
Less than an hour later the court heard Duncan v. State, brought by the American Civil Liberties Union, which claims ESAs violate the constitutional prohibition against using taxpayer funds for sectarian purposes.
A Clark County judge in May dismissed that argument, saying ESAs are neutral on the matter of religion.
Richard Katskee of Americans United for Separation of Church and State argued that the state strictly maintains ownership and control of ESAs, meaning they are public funds, even though parents designate where to send the checks.
Tim Keller, an attorney with the Institute for Justice who is representing parents who want ESAs upheld, told the court,“The fact is, not one dollar will reach a religious institution except by the private choice of parents.”
Keller argued that parents know best how to educate their children. “My clients are trapped in chronically poor performing schools based on nothing more than their ZIP codes, based on nothing more than where they live right now. This program gives them the opportunity to escape those schools,” Keller concluded.
The lawmakers knew what they were doing and the justices should not undo their effort to provide education choices based on frivolous technicalities.
A version of this column appeared this week in many of the Battle Born Media newspapers — The Ely Times, the Mesquite Local News, the Mineral County Independent-News, the Eureka Sentinel and the Lincoln County Record — and the Elko Daily Free Press.
Today’s jobs report:
255,000 jobs added last month.
Unemployment below 5%
Hourly earnings up
Under President Obama, the longest streak of private-sector job growth ever recorded.
I blame that job-killing ObamaCare.
I know it’s difficult nyp…but please try to stay on topic, not the latest propaganda from our first half black President.
Excellent piece Mr. Mitchell…let’s hope the high court concurs!
“First half-black President.”
Keep at it.
From John Gray:
“Obama will run around the country touting 255,000 new jobs, and in particular, an unemployment rate of 4.9 percent that is in line with pre-financial crisis levels. What he won’t tell the American public, however, is that there still remains nearly 1 million more people unemployed than pre-2008.”
– See more at: https://www.conservativereview.com/commentary/2016/08/julys-strong-job-numbers-are-not-strong-enough#sthash.8s3FoSXn.dpuf
Ronald Reagan brought forth an annual real GDP growth of 3.5%.
Barack Obama will be lucky to average a 1.55% GDP growth rate.
Obama is the first President ever not to have a single year of 3% GDP growth!
As of late 2014, the big bad gov’ment LOST nearly 500,000 jobs. (If a right winger had been in office, this would have been trumpeted from the highest podium)
During conservative hero Ronald Reagan’s 8 years as president, government employment INCREASED by a whopping 1,500,000 jobs.
Imagine what the GDP rates would have been if only President Obama had increased the size of government the way the “conservative” Reagan had.
In fact, at the same point in their respective terms on office, President Obama has added MORE private sector jobs than Reagan did. (14.1 million vs 13.5 million)
Course, both outperformed Bush II (7.4 million)
You still have to consider how this administration “counts” jobs and “unemployed”. The fact remains that there are over 1 million more people unemployed now than were working in 2008 before Obama became President.
It’s important to put the jobs numbers into proper perspective.
1.In the household survey, if you work as little as 1 hour a week, even selling trinkets on EBay, you are considered employed.
2.In the household survey, if you work three part-time jobs, 12 hours each, the BLS considers you a full-time employee.
3.In the payroll survey, three part-time jobs count as three jobs. The BLS attempts to factor this in, but they do not weed out duplicate Social Security numbers. The potential for double-counting jobs in the payroll survey is large.
Household Survey vs. Payroll Survey
The payroll survey (sometimes called the establishment survey) is the headline jobs number, generally released the first Friday of every month. It is based on employer reporting.
The household survey is a phone survey conducted by the BLS. It measures unemployment and many other factors.
If you work one hour, you are employed. If you don’t have a job and fail to look for one, you are not considered unemployed, rather, you drop out of the labor force.
Looking for jobs on Monster does not count as “looking for a job”. You need an actual interview or send out a resume.
These distortions artificially lower the unemployment rate, artificially boost full-time employment, and artificially increase the payroll jobs report every month.
Despite the huge bounce for the second month in the establishment survey, the four month average in the household survey employment is only 49,250. The surveys are still out of line, but not by as much as they were last month.
Unless there is some evidence that I’m not aware of, that the current administration has changed the way job statistics are reported, or calculated, from the method used during the Reagan administration, the numbers reflected there are not affected.
And no change in standards would affect the public sector job number difference; government grew under Reagan, and has decreased under “the socialist”.
Yes the current administration has changed the way job statistics are reported.
Obama has had a failed Presidency – period – unless of course your standard is more regulation, less freedom, and less transparency and widespread lawlessness.
I’d be interested in any proof that the method used to calculate job losses/increases, by the agency quoted in the stories I cited, changed in any way, but most relevantly, in any way that would have increased the gains showed for the Obama administration at the same time diminishing those showed by the Reagan administration; because I don’t believe there were any.
And of course, there was no more criminal administration in history, leastways as evidenced by the number of indictments, convictions, and judgments against the highest ranking members of that administration, than the Reagan one which left this country teetering on the brink of collapse.
Finally, given Reagan’s admission of lying to Congress, about his involvement in selling arms to the terrorist leaders in Iran, in violation of US law, it is a wonder that our believed republic, allowed him to escape prosecution for those actions, unless of course, conservatives admit that some presidents, are just above the law.
“conservatives admit that some presidents, are just above the law.”
As soon as you admit some candidates are above the law……
Conservatives do seem intent on “claiming” that the current administration is “lawless” or that it’s conduct has “subverted our beloved republic” all the while ignoring (or more aptly, pretending it never happened) the criminal legacy supposed “conservative” administrations have left for this country.
In fact, the administration of conservative icon Ronald Reagan was labeled the “most corrupt” (with apologies to Republican Warren Harding) in the history of the country.
“Leaders” of that administration including Attorney General Edwin Meese (a lawyer for Gods sake who once claimed that the Constitution was NOT the highest law of the land) and Michael Dever the presidents chief of staff, the presidents’ secretary of defense, (who escaped prosecution only because Bush preempted his prosecution) the secretary of the Interior james Watt, a man notorious for selling American oil leases for pennies to his friends and their friends, Ann Gorsuch Buford one of the most reviled members, if not the most heinous, notorious for allowing polluters to poison this country, too many to list, but lest we forget.
Of course,this doesn’t include the MOST criminal of all, Reagan himself, who admitted (in addition to his other criminal acts which haunt this country till this day; affirming under oath that AQ Khan and Pakistan were complying with nuclear non-proliferation agreements when he KNEW that instead Khan and Pakistan were transferring this technology to Iran N. Korea, Syria, Iraq, Libya and others) that he had authorized the sale of weapons to the terrorists in Iran immediately after they had taken Americans hostage at our embassy there.
His escape from prosecution is unfathomable in light of conservatives claims of loyalty to “our believed republic” and the Constitution.
So, no admission of criminal activity by liberal candidates.
So the economy crashed in a big way after 7 1/2 years of the Bush administration, while with Obama, we slowly crawled out of the greatest economic collapse since the Depression, into one of the longest recoveries in history, but you call Obama the bad guy. How do you come up with this stuff? You also choose to ignore that we have had a dysfunctional Congress for Obama’s entire administration. You don’t think Congress has any impact on the economy? Hedgehogs vs foxes.
The weakest recovery since WWII.
You guys so funny.
Babs — thanks for unskewing the Bureau of Labor Statistics jobs report for us. Would you mind telling us precisely when it was that President Obama effectuated this evil scheme to completely change the way way jobs numbers are presented?
It might be the slowest recovery, but not the weakest. My comment does not apply to the middle class, which has been in a recession since 1974. Even you might have a hard time blaming Obama for a problem that has been with us for that long – except that you don’t consider it a problem. This brings up an inconsistency, I believe. You’re highly critical of our so called weak recovery, yet completely dismiss the stagnation of income for the bottom 90% for five decades. Are you concerned that Obama’s policies haven’t enriched the 1%? You’re certainly don’t appear to be concerned about the income of the bottom 90.
NYP – I probably could do some research and come up with the date, but it’s not important to understanding the jobs report. Please address the lousy economy instead of throwing up distractions to obscure the fact that for the entire Obama administration, economic growth has been anemic. His policies have not worked.
Never ceases to amaze me that after republicans crash the economy, and “the socialists” save it, that the republicans want to talk about the recovery not meeting their standards for speed.
Rincon – Democrats controlled both the Senate and the House for the first 2 years of Obama’s administration. Obama has gotten every increase in the debt ceiling…in fact the debt has exploded under Obama. And the Great Recession was actually not as bad as what Reagan faced with high interest rates and inflation. Obama has had the lowest rates and very low inflation. The Fed has pumped more money into the system than at any time in history. Obama’s policies have enriched the 1% at the expense of everyone else.
If Obamas policies enriched the 1% at the expense of everyone else, why do those on the right insist on calling him a socialist? and rail against his “socialist policies”?
It’s not just Obama’s policies. It’s the policies of the Fed as well. Most liberals will readily admit that Obama is a socialist. His self admitted goal was to transform America, and he has largely succeeded. He himself has said he would prefer a one payer government controlled health care system. Obamacare was just a stepping stone on this path. He has used the EPA to close industries, the IRS to target conservatives, and the Justice Department to fund left wing groups through “negotiated” fines on the banks. He has taken over local police departments through federal mandates as well. Yep, I’d say he has moved America down the socialist path and most liberals don’t try to hide this fact.
Well here’s one liberal that doesn’t need to tried to hide any facts.
By any true definition of “socialism” this president is not any more a socialist than a man many conservatives believe was one of them; Ronald Reagan.
Liberals, like me, know that the word “socialist” takes on an entirely different meaning than that used in any dictionary when those on the right use it to describe our current president. But we understand that the right is not interested in the proper usage, instead they merely use the words as some trigger to get their fellow travelers to act. It is also used by the right, in the hopes that some people who are ignorant of what socialism is, believe that it’s bad, and feel negatively about the president.
I mean here’s Barbara, a self described conservative, alternatively saying that the president is a socialist, and that his policies are socialist, and that his policies have benefited the 1%….
Barbara – you made an outrageous claim that the President has rigged basic economic statistics. Now you refuse to substantiate your claim.
Ever wonder what it is about the modern conservative movement that brought us to the age of Palin and Trump?
NYP – I accurately reported how the Bureau of Labor Statistics measures employment and unemployment. It is your opinion that this is a rigged system. See below:
Apparently you have never looked at who the government considers employed or unemployed, but have blindly accepted the government statistics as accurately measuring the labor force. Doesn’t this make you wonder what else you have blindly accepted as the truth?
Barbara: the fact that unemployment is now below 5% and that we have had the longest streak of US job growth every recorded creates a problem for people like you who argue that President Obama has somehow turned the American economy into a dystopian hellhole. Because your devotion to your extreme ideology is more important to you than a respect for facts, you have chosen to make the outrageous accusation that the Obama Administration “has changed the way job statistics are reported,” in order to make the employment picture look far better than it actually is. When challenged to substantiate your assertion, you first try to deflect the challenge, then you merely provide a link to a the basic Bureau of Labor Statistics website that explains the unexceptional methodology used by professional economists and statisticians to measure various aspects of the labor market. Those statistical techniques have barely changed over the past several decades. You are thoroughly wrong in suggesting that the BLS statistics are misleading. However, even if you were correct, your argument would apply with equal force to the labor market under Presidents Bush, Clinton, Bush I, and Reagan. In other words, by your own measure, the American economy has been an unmitigated disaster from the standpoint of labor force participation for our entire adulthood. That is insane.
At various times Thomas Mitchell and Donald Trump have made the same crazy argument that President Obama has issued falsified economic statistics. They have shown themselves incapable of either substantiating their argument or of admitting error. But you are not them. Why don’t you do the honorable thing and admit that you were wrong?
NYP – address the issue. You have yet to address the misleading way the government counts unemployed and employed. When you address the issue we can go down your rabbit hole.
By the way NYP – my post on understanding the job numbers came from Mishtalk.com.
New York Times: NYT 10th Annual Year in Ideas – #1 Idea of the Year ‘Do-It-Yourself Macroeconomics’
Time Magazine: Best 25 Financial Blogs
Bloomberg: Financial Blogs: The Best of the Bunch
CNBC: Best Alternative Financial Websites
Strategist News: Best Business Blogs 2011
I merely reported from his website how the BLS arrives at the stats. You are the one who reported the stats are misleading, and I congratulate you on arriving at that conclusion.
You specifically stated that the Obama Administration had “changed the way job statistics are reported” in order to make bad job numbers look better. Do you stand by that assertion? If so, what is your evidence?
In reality, you have no evidence. You just throw out wild accusations.
net private sector job creation since President Obama signed ACA: +14.7M
net private sector job creation under GWB before Obamacare existed: -463K
NYP – My first post said nothing about Obama changing the way employed and unemployed are measured. I only explained how this was done in this administration. You (correctly in my opinion) called this system “rigged”, because even you did not realize that a person working for one hour would be considered employed.
Yes, I have in the past read that the methodology was changed. When it was changed I don’t recall and it is not germane to me in this discussion with the point being the validity of the current statistics being released. Even you have admitted that the current statistics are not valid, so stop trying to distract from that sad fact.
I have never “admitted” that the BLS’s methodology, which it has applied for administration after administration after administration is flawed or that somehow “the current statistics are not valid.” That is nuts. Crazypants stuff.
Nevertheless, it is good to know that when you tell us that we “need to consider how this administration ‘counts’ jobs and ‘unemployed'” you are not actually referring to the Obama Administration, but to all recent presidential Administrations, Republican and Democratic.
Similarly, it is gratifying to now know that when you write that “the current administration has changed the way job statistics are reported,” you really aren’t referring to any change at all.
Let’s ask Barbara if increasing the national debt, increasing taxes, increasing the size of government, increasing the number of government regulations, increasing the budget to pay people social security, along with increasing the budget for Medicare and Medicaid would mean an administration of socialists was on charge?
A request for an increase, which is reduced to a smaller increase is a cut!
Don’t let Patrick trick you!
An increase is a cut? And war is peace. No wonder we so often disagree!
No….(trixter) ….a reduction in the requested increase, while still an increase, is a cut!
Or have you been living under a political rock all these decades?
Is your reply sarcastic, perhaps referring to liberal claims that a smaller deficit, while still increasing debt, is a cut?
You can’t be that dense.
If your expenses go up by less than your budget, is it a cut?
It’s nothing but a rhetorical game.
A billion here or a billion there, pretty soon it amounts to about a whole crapload of “rhetoric”
when they request a figure for a budget and the Congress approves a smaller figure is that is not a cut in the budget, but they always report it as a cut in the budget.
Even though the budget increased.
That is the trick Patrick was trying to set. Claiming the budget were increased by all those hated, awful conservatives he hated for reducing the requests in the first place.
So it was sarcastic. Thank you for making it clear. The reason for my confusion is that it didn’t appear to be directed at Patrick’s statement. He said nothing about cuts. I presumed that he was referring back to his previous statement about Reagan.
Nice to see someone got it. Didn’t think it was too difficult but Steve proved me wrong again.
He was trying to say conservative raised budgets, even though he was totally against their actions to lower the increases.
Remember, to a modern day liberal, a decrease in the increase ( or as nyp would say, lowering the cost curve….) while still an increase, is a cut. Unless the increase can be used, politically speaking, against the conservative. Then the increase is to be lauded as a good thing because it shows the conservative in a “bad” light.
And there you have it. I’m showing what Patrick is really all about.
It drives him crazy.
Steve do yourself a favor: don’t try to understand the things other people say.
Clearly, you’re not capable.
[…] did not note that the education savings accounts have yet to be implemented due to litigation questioning the law’s […]