Judges Rule States as Budgets End Up in Courts

Tuesday, 07 Jun 2011 01:41 PM

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As increasing numbers of state budget battles end up in court, some judges are wielding veto power over state spending, The New York Times reports.  Recent decisions have forced a handful of states to fund particular programs or, in the case of Nevada, to scrap an entire fiscal-year blueprint that had been voted on and signed into law.

Nevada’s new Republican governor, Brian Sandoval, said he had to break a campaign pledge to let $600 million in taxes expire because a court ruled the state had balanced its budget illegally with local revenues.

New Jersey’s Supreme Court concluded last month that cuts to the school budget violated an earlier judicial order. Republican Gov. Chris Christie responded that, “as a fundamental principle, I do not believe that it is the role of the State Supreme Court to determine what programs the state should and should not be funding, and to what amount.”


Some dissenting judges in similar cases have agreed. Even so, budget-related court challenges are rising, with states including North Carolina and Kansas facing scrutiny from the bench that could lead to orders to spend more on education.

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