Under our constitutional system, the legislative branch controls the government pursestrings. The executive branch has an opportunity to weigh in on spending issues through the power to sign or veto legislative bills. But in Arizona, the executive branch — led by Janet Napolitano — has given the judiciary the authority to spend state money. She has done so because she can’t get the legislature to do her bidding on the issue of educating English Language Learners. So she has acquiesced in allowing an unelected judge to make spending decisions for the state of Arizona.
This is not about whether you agree with Janet Napolitano, Judge Collins or the legislature about the best way to teach English in our public schools. This is about a Governor who is happy to go along with a judicial power grab so long as she gets the result she wants. This ends-justify-the-means approach to public policy is a serious threat to the liberty provided by our constitutional separation of powers.
I am thankful for Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, who has challenged the notion that a federal judge can take away spending authority from the elected representatives of the people of Arizona.