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Eye On Boise

Heated moments in judicial debate

Things got pretty heated during tonight’s Idaho Supreme Court debate. At one point, Justice Roger Burdick disputed Judge John Bradbury’s statement that the state school facilities lawsuit ended when lawyers were called to a basement meeting and told “it’s over,” without any written order or decision - and despite an earlier ruling that the state’s school funding system is unconstitutional. “It is abject malarkey and nonsense,” Burdick said, adding that the basement meeting was a scheduling conference on another, related case. “I’m not going to say it’s a lie, but it’s darn close to it,” Burdick said. “The Idaho state Legislature are the people who in fact fund the schools. The Supreme Court of Idaho cannot. It is up to the Legislature. The parties who brought this lawsuit in the first case could bring this lawsuit again tomorrow if they wish - this case is not over. We indicated we retained jurisdiction.” Bradbury responded, “If you want to know what happened in the basement of the Supreme Court, talk to the players who were there.”

Another clash came after Bradbury commented, “As to Justice Jones, I sometimes wonder who I’m running against.” Justice Jim Jones, who is running unopposed for re-election, has issued statements on behalf of the court challenging some of Bradbury’s claims about the state’s judicial system, and responded for Burdick to a letter he received from a citizen. Burdick said, “I’m not going to bridle anyone’s First Amendment rights to answer or to in some way respond to Judge Bradbury. … As concerns this letter, … I was up campaigning. … It was a legal inquiry. Little did I know that it was from a political operative of Judge Bradbury’s. … Little did I know that it was going to be used for some nefarious reason later on in this campaign.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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