Alabama: state judge enjoins legislature from sending education bill to governor

by Walter Olson on March 7, 2013

Can courts even do that? Both houses of the Alabama legislature passed a measure called House Bill 84 revamping education policy; the state teachers’ union, the Alabama Education Association, went to court with a challenge; and Montgomery Circuit Judge Charles Price issued an injunction forbidding the Clerk of the House from enrolling the bill for the signature of Gov. Robert Bentley, who has said he would sign it. The AEA argued that lawmakers violated the state Open Meetings Act in the course of bringing the bill to passage. Republican lawmakers are appealing the judge’s action to the state supreme court; presumably they’ll argue for the old principle that equity will not enjoin legislative acts, even if it can enjoin legislation from taking effect once it is signed. [WAFF, more] Further: some background on the education bill from Jeff Poor at the Daily Caller.

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1 Jerryskids 03.07.13 at 2:44 pm

My first thought really was ‘can courts even do that?’ Googling this particular judge shows that he is a graduate of George Washington University. I wonder which professors he had at GWU. The ones that teach that if people don’t voluntarily do what you want them to do (for their own good, of course) you just force them to do it anyway?

2 MattS 03.07.13 at 4:04 pm

How can there even be standing to challenge a law that hasn’t even gone into effect yet?

3 Eric 03.07.13 at 4:40 pm

Why even bother appealing the order. Impeach the judge and ignore the order. How many Troopers work for the judge?

4 MattS 03.07.13 at 5:20 pm

“How many Troopers work for the judge?”

If that’s your criteria, skip the impeachment and just ignore the order or better yet, go around it. The injunction is against the bill being delivered to the governor. Have the governor come and pick it up, problem solved. :)

5 Doug 03.07.13 at 5:36 pm

I believe, something like that was tried in Wisconsin with Gov. Walkers Act 10.

6 Leland D. Davis 03.07.13 at 6:40 pm

My whole understanding of why we allow courts to declare a law unconstitutional is that an invalid law is without force. If courts produce an unconstitutional order, would they not be without force by the same logic, and both the legislative and executive branches would be not only permitted but obligated to ignore the court order?
Trying to get my reasoning straight here.

7 MattS 03.07.13 at 9:20 pm

Doug,

Here in Wisconsin they at least waited until after the Gov had signed it before suing.

8 Bumper 03.08.13 at 3:07 am

I believe that in Alabama judges are elected. Yet another poster state for why this is a bad idea.

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