Sununu’s Silence on Religious Bigotry in New Hampshire

I previously posted about Senate Bill 8 here.  The bill was a response to the Department of Education’s and the Attorney General’s jihad against the Town of Croydon’s policy of using tax revenues to send some of its public school students to private schools in other school districts.

While well-intentioned, as I explained here, Croydon’s policy was not authorized under State law and a legislative fix was needed.

Senate Bill 8 was intended to be that legislative fix.  However, the State’s attorney general and certain RINOs in the New Hampshire House amended Senate Bill 8 to expressly discriminate against religious schools.  For example:

IV.  Pursuant to RSA 193:3, VI, a school board may execute a contract with any approved nonsectarian private school approved by the school board as a school tuition program as defined in RSA 193:3, VII to provide for the education of a child who resides in the school district, and may raise and appropriate money for the purposes of the contract, if the school district does not have a public school at the pupil’s grade level and the school board decides it is in the best interest of the pupil.

In my prior post, I explained that this amendment was unconstitutional under the United States Constitution.  I am pleased to say “I told you so.”

From Ed Whalen at National Review’s Bench Memos on June 26th:

In Trinity Lutheran Church v. Comer, the Supreme Court ruled today that the state of Missouri violated the Free Exercise rights of a church when it excluded religious organizations from taking part in a program of grants for playground resurfacing. As Chief Justice Roberts summed things up near the end of his majority opinion for six justices, “the exclusion of Trinity Lutheran from a public benefit for which it is otherwise qualified, solely because it is a church, is odious to our Constitution.”

Contradicting early predictions of a ruling sharply divided on ideological grounds, Justice Kagan joined the Chief’s opinion in full, and Justice Breyer wrote an opinion concurring in the judgment. Breyer “agree[s] with much of what the Court says” but (consistent with his general approach) is reluctant to sign on to any broad principle.

The Trinity Lutheran decision means that Senate Bill 8 is unconstitutional to the extent that it discriminates against religious schools.  This means that the prohibition against placing students in religious schools cannot be followed.  In other words, Senate Bill 8 must be interpreted to allow placements in religious schools.

You would think that Governor Sununu, who claims to support school choice, would have loudly welcomed the Trinity Lutheran decision, explained its implications for Senate Bill 8, and announced that the Department of Education would be issuing guidance to school districts to ignore Senate Bill 8’s prohibition against placements in religious schools.

Instead, crickets from the corner office.

In fairness, I haven’t heard anything from the Commissioner, Frank Edelblut, either.

Sad.

 

Sununu’s Supreme Court Pick – Even Worse Than We Feared

I previously posted about Governor Sunna’s nomination of Bobbie Hantz Marconi to the New Hampshire Supreme Court here and here.  In brief, I was of the opinion that Sununu was playing identity-politics along the lines President George W. Bush played when he nominated Harriet Miers to the United States Supreme Court because Marconi has no experience in or interest in constitutional law.

I truly hate to say I told you so, given how rare and crucial supreme court appointments are, but I told you so

At Marconi’s hearing, per New Hampshire Public Radio:

On guns, Hantz told the Executive Council she believed the Second Amendment was a collective and individual right, but also said she wasn’t familiar with the particulars of the Heller decision.

That ruling struck down a Washington D.C. handgun ban and spelled out an individual’s right to possess a firearm.

Hantz’s view that the Second Amendment is both a “collective” and an individual right sounds like an attempt to please both sides of the debate, rather than something she has given much, if any, thought to or studied.

If the Second Amendment is a “collective right,” that is, a right of the State -that cannot be abridged by the federal government- to maintain its own military force, then the State in the exercise of that right could regulate the ownership and use of guns by its citizens up to and including banning private gun ownership altogether.  In other words, it is one or the other.  The Second Amendment cannot simultaneously be a right of the State to maintain its own independent military force and a right of its citizens to bear arms because the two rights are inconsistent with each other.

More troubling is that Marconi has not read the Heller decision.  In the words of thankfully departed John Boenher, “are you kidding me”?

Heller, in the opinion of many constitutional scholars, was one of the most important United States Supreme Court decisions ever issued.  It remains extremely relevant as the parameters of the decision continue to be defined by lower courts.  To have never read Heller, or to only have read it cursorily, shows a stunning lack of interest in constitutional law.

I am sure that Marconi is a wonderful person and very competent in the areas of law she practices, but she does not belong on New Hampshire’s supreme court.

What is perhaps even more troubling is that Executive Councilor Andru Volinsky, who waged a scorched earth campaign to prevent Frank Edelblut from becoming commissioner of the Department of Education because he believed Edelblut would not continue bureaucratic business as usual, voted for Marconi.  Rest assured that if Mr. #VolinskyAgenda believed that Marconi were a judicial conservative (that is a judge who does not rule based on political considerations) who would oppose and expose judicial activism he not only would have voted against her, he would have tried to “Bork” her like he tried to “Bork” Edelblut.

In short, Sununu appears to have wasted a Supreme Court pick in order to avoid a fight with Volinsky and/or appear “bipartisan,” and/or appease the New Hampshire Bar and the GOP establishment.

Questions the GOP Executive Councilors Should Ask Harriet Miers, er Bobbie Hantz Marconi, But Won’t

I previously posted about Governor Sununu’s nomination of Bobbie Hantz Marconi to the New Hampshire Supreme Court, likening it to President George W. Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers.

The Executive Council, which must confirm the nomination, will hold a “public hearing” on the nomination.  Unlike hearings before the United States Senate, where a finite number of witnesses are called by each Party, the “public hearing” held by the Executive Council allows any member of the public to speak.

This makes hearings on judicial nominees before the Executive Council essentially a farce.  Judges should not be nominated based on their popularity with the public, but based upon criteria I discussed in a prior post: (1) Judicial Philosophy (2) Intellectual capacity (3) Experience (4) Integrity and (5) Demeanor.

Here are two questions the GOP Executive Councilors should ask the nominee, but probably won’t. Continue reading