The #VolinskyConstitution

UPDATE June 24, 2017:  Appears I was wrong and Bradley was right.  #VolinskyAgenda & fellow hard-leftist Dan Feltes (Communist – Concord) lobbied Democrat representatives to vote against full-day kindergarten.

As usual, I find myself in disagreement with State Senator Jeb Bradley (RINO – Wolfeboro).  More specifically, I think Bradley’s observation that Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky (Communist – Concord) is trying to create political-cover for Democrats in the New Hampshire House and Senate to vote against increased spending on kindergarten is wrong.

I think Volinsky believes that he can bluff the Legislature into increasing spending on kindergarten, failing which some Democrat lawyer will file a lawsuit along the lines Volinsky has sketched and that New Hampshire’s Democrat-appointed judiciary will expand the Claremont rulings to make “fully-funded, full-day kindergarten” a “constitutional right.”

From the Democrats’ surrogates at WMUR:

“Full-day kindergarten is part of a constitutionally adequate education,” Volinsky said Friday. “And once you understand that concept, you understand that the state must pay for constitutional adequacy.” …

“My understanding is that if kindergarten had been mandatory for an adequate education, we would have fully funded it long ago,” Bradley said.

“This argument is an attempt to give the Democrats cover for voting against something that is very popular,” Bradley said. “They really are letting the perfect be the enemy of the good. They didn’t get everything they wanted and so now they want to blow it up.”

The Claremont II decision was issued in 1997.  Since then, kindergarten has never been “fully-funded” –which is a totally absurd concept from a constitutional standpoint because fully-funded is a political judgment to be decided, if at all, by the democratic process.

Now, suddenly, twenty years later we’ve discovered that “fully-funded” full-day kindergarten education is a constitutional right?  Absurd.  Bradley is correct that nobody, not even Volinsky, believed the Claremont decisions applied to kindergarten.

The thing to remember about the Claremont decisions is that they have nothing to do with the constitution.  They represent the judiciary usurping the democratic process.

Activist-judges don’t want to be seen as pushing the envelope too far, which explains why Volinsky never previously claimed that state-spending on kindergarten was “constitutionally inadequate.”  Back when Claremont II was issued, ordering the Legislature and Governor to mandate kindergarten, which was never historically part of public education in New Hampshire, would have been much, much harder to disguise as interpreting the constitution (as opposed to rewriting the constitution).

But now the political-climate has changed and the Governor and Legislature support expanding state-spending on kindergarten from half-day to full-day.  Volinsky is seeking to take advantage of the changed political climate to further the #VolinskyAgenda, which I discuss in detail here and here.

If you are interested in how the Claremont decisions represent pure legal fiction, I have addressed that topic extensively in two law review articles: here and here.

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