A legislature answerable to no one?
Published November 30, 2022
If Phil Berger decides the legislature refuses to spend a dime on public schools – no court nor anyone else can force him and the legislators who follow his lead to do any different. Do courts even have the authority to determine whether the legislature has failed to adhere to the state and federal constitutions?
So, North Carolina legislators answer to no one when it comes to upholding the oaths they take “to support, maintain and defend the Constitution” of the state.
Is it solely the province of the legislature to define what is quality education? No one but the legislature can determine what is needed – if anything -- to meet our state Constitution’s mandate and it is only for the legislature to delineate that definition.
What recourse is there for anyone who might contend the state isn’t meeting its Constitutional obligation or that the legislature is responsible?
The likely snooty answer from Berger and his followers is the election – like the one we just had. If constituents don’t like what legislators do, vote to replace them. Of course, thanks to hyper-partisan gerrymandering, that too can become an empty gesture. This is a legislature where nearly half of the Republicans just elected to the state Senate and House had no opposition on Election Day.
And, of course, our legislative leaders are busy arguing that no one has any business telling them the election districts they draw are fair and meet the legal requirements of the state and federal constitutions.
Stay tuned for more on that – coming Wednesday, Dec. 7 before the U.S. Supreme Court.