Chris Christie Tells N.J. Supreme Court to Back Off on Education

Thursday, 21 Apr 2011 12:58 PM

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New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie essentially told the Garden State’s highest court to back off as it considers how the state funds education for its poorest students, the Newark Star Ledger reported Thursday.

The state Supreme Court should step aside and let the executive and legislative branches of state government decide how schools are funded. That was the message from former Supreme Court Justice Peter Verniero, who is representing the Christie administration, in a long-standing lawsuit over education funding.

If the court decides that Christie violated the constitution by cutting education funding last year, the decision could put a $1.7 billion hole in the governor’s proposed budget. The court should tread lightly when it comes to such a decision, Verniero said.

"Before the court injects itself, it has to be absolutely certain that the violations that occurred are of a significant magnitude to justify its involvement," he said.

Ordering more school funding would jeopardize the state’s ability to balance the budget, another constitutional obligation, Verniero said.

"We cannot, in the name of the constitution, violate the constitution itself," he said.

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