“A Kansas district court heard arguments [last] Friday in the case of a man who is being sued for thousands of dollars in child support by the state after donating his sperm to a same-sex couple he found through a Craigslist ad.” By law artificial insemination in Kansas requires a doctor’s supervision, but mechanic William Marotta instead relied on a private contract with the women who wanted his services, which the state argues cannot excuse him from parental responsibility. [NBC News]
The Colorado Supreme Court, wisely resisting a national campaign of school funding litigation, has turned down a lawsuit arguing that the state is obliged under its constitution to step up school spending. [Denver Post, KDVR, opinion in State v. Lobato]
I’ve got a post up at Cato at Liberty about the Colorado decision, noting that although school finance litigators make a lot of noise about educational quality, they are actually on a mission of “control —specifically, transferring control over spending from voters and their representatives to litigators whose loyalty is to a mix of ideologues and interest groups sharing a wish for higher spending.” I quote from a section on school finance litigation that I wound up cutting from my book Schools for Misrule about the enormous impact such suits have had in other states:
Vast sums have been redistributed as a result. Lawmakers in Kentucky enacted more than a billion dollars in tax hikes. New Jersey adopted its first income tax. Kansas lawmakers levied an additional $755 million in taxes after the state’s high court in peremptory fashion ordered them to double their spending on schools.
The results have been at best mixed: while some states to come under court order have improved their educational performance, many others have stagnated or fallen into new crisis. Colorado is fortunate not to join their ranks. (& reprint: Complete Colorado)
P.S. From a Colorado Springs Gazette report, Jul. 31, 2011:
“Putting more money into a broken system won’t get a better results. There are improvements that could be made without money,” says Deputy Attorney General Geoffrey Blue. …
He points to a Cato Institute study that showed spending on education across the country has skyrocketed but test scores didn’t improve.
“That would mean that potentially every cent of the state budget would be shifted over to K-12 education,” says Blue, who heads the office’s legal policy and government affairs.
The couple say they believe they were raided because of their use of an indoor gardening setup to raise six tomato, melon and squash plants in their basement. “A drug-sniffing dog was brought in to help, but deputies ultimately left after providing a receipt stating, ‘No items taken.’” [Heather Hollingsworth, AP]
William Marotta and the recipient of his donation signed an agreement that he would have neither rights nor obligations with respect to any offspring that resulted. But the state of Kansas says that shouldn’t insulate him from paying child support for the three-year-old daughter on whose behalf the state picked up $6,000 in medical bills unpaid by the mother, who had fallen on hard times. [Topeka Capital-Journal, Huffington Post]
A Kansas judge “last week dismissed Jesse Dimmick’s lawsuit against the couple he kidnapped in southwest Shawnee County.” [Topeka Capital-Journal, earlier]
Jesse Dimmick, who invaded the home of Jared and Lindsay Rowley at knifepoint and held them for some time against their will, is now suing them for allegedly reneging on a promise to hide him from the police. He’s also suing the city of Topeka, one of whose officers shot him during his apprehension. [Capital-Journal via Lowering the Bar]
Headline stories of the week:
- Crude for sure: Law.com runs highlights of the tapes of American lawyers stage-managing the Ecuador-Chevron suit [Corporate Counsel, ShopFloor]
- Why such broad gag orders in Kansas pain-doc advocacy case? [Jacob Sullum, Reason; Adam Liptak, NYT]
- Spectacular fall of lawyer Adorno in Miami fire fee case [ABA Journal, PoL, earlier]
- Fiscal 2010 saw biggest increase in regulatory burdens placed on US economy since measurements began [Heritage]
- Watch for nonstandard definitions of “rights”: “Unions Fear Rollback of Rights Under Republicans” [NYT]
- Marijuana, freedom and the California ballot [David Boaz, Cato at Liberty] Alas, text of Proposition 19 also contains “antidiscrimination” provisions that restrict private liberty [David Henderson]
- New papers from U.S. Chamber’s Institute for Legal Reform unveiled at last week’s Legal Reform Summit: ways to fix the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) (more on FCPA from Nathan Burney via Greenfield); Beisner-Miller-Schwartz on cy pres in class actions, via CCAF and Trask; and a new paper on asbestos claiming in Madison County, Illinois;
- Will Supreme Court clients be as keen on hiring Tribe after revelation of his letter trashing Sotomayor? [Whelan, NRO]
“A federal judge ruled [last month] that a Wichita Catholic school policy requiring students to speak only English didn’t break any civil rights laws.” U.S. District Judge J. Thomas Marten still felt free to give St. Anne Catholic School a tongue-lashing over the alleged divisiveness of its policy, though he found it did not rise to the level of creating a “hostile educational environment”, which would apparently have triggered liability even in a private religious school setting. (Ron Sylvester, “School prevails in English-only lawsuit”, Wichita Eagle, Aug. 16, GoogleCached).
Eugene Volokh has an extensive analysis up at the Conspiracy (see Nov. 2). For some flavor of the Phelps group’s extreme forays into picketing and public abuse of hapless Topeka residents, and intensive lawsuit-filing against countless defendants, see SPLC’s “A City Held Hostage” and “Halting Abusive Lawyers“.