Idaho Supreme Court Justice Roger Burdick now says he misspoke when he said in a televised campaign debate that Idaho’s long-standing school funding lawsuit isn’t over. “That was a misstatement,” Burdick told The Spokesman-Review on Monday. “We indicated the case was over.” The end of the drawn-out case, which stretched for 15-plus years, came in late 2005 after the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the state’s system for funding school construction unconstitutional and ordered the Legislature to fix it, then closed the case without any further action or review of subsequent legislative changes.
Burdick’s challenger in his bid for re-election to the court, 2nd District Judge John Bradbury, has been sharply critical of the court’s handling of the case, which he calls the “darkest day in the history of the Idaho Supreme Court.” Bradbury said Monday, “If you take Justice Burdick’s approach, it is up to each branch to decide whether they comply with the Constitution. It’s an incredible, abject abdication of the court’s role.”
Burdick took the issue a step further on Monday, issuing a press release in which he accused Bradbury of advocating an “activist” approach to the issue, and characterized the Idaho Supreme Court’s approach as a “conservative” one that worked. He cited legislation passed in the 2006 legislative session and in an August 2006 special session of the state Legislature, and said between the two, “the court … got the desired results.” You can read my full story here, read Burdick’s press release here, and read a response to Burdick’s press release from Robert Huntley, the former Idaho Supreme Court justice who represented the school districts that sued the state, by clicking here.