Bench Memos

This Day in Liberal Judicial Activism—March 24

 1997—By a vote of 4 to 3, the Ohio supreme court rules in DeRolph v. State that Ohio’s existing system of financing its public-school system violates the state constitution’s declaration that the General Assembly “make such provisions, by taxation or otherwise, as will secure a thorough and efficient system of common schools throughout the state.”  The court orders the General Assembly to “create an entirely new school financing system.”  (How a school system can ever be “thorough and efficient” so long as self-serving teachers unions have clout is a mystery that the court did not explore.)

2009—Reviewing yet another Ninth Circuit grant of habeas relief on a claim of ineffective assistance of counsel, the Supreme Court (in Knowles v. Mirzayance) again unanimously reverses the Ninth Circuit.  Perhaps it is not surprising that a court laden with so many incompetent judges is inept at determining what constitutes incompetent legal advice.

Ed Whelan — Ed Whelan is a leading commentator on nominations to the Supreme Court and the lower courts and on issues of constitutional law.

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