Today's award, accompanied by a dozen brickbats served with a sauce of blinding rage, goes to the Attorney-General of Michigan.
Attorneys for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder are asking a judge to toss out a lawsuit against the state of Michigan filed by students in the Detroit school system and claim that literacy is not a legal right in the state of Michigan.
Seven children filed the lawsuit in September, saying decades of state disinvestment and deliberate indifference to Detroit's schools have denied them access to literacy.
The plaintiffs say the schools have deplorable building conditions, lack of books, classrooms without teachers, insufficient desks, buildings plagued by vermin, unsafe facilities and extreme temperatures.
The Michigan Attorney General asked a federal judge to dismiss a class action lawsuit arguing that Detroit schools are obligated to ensure that kids learn how to read and write. The state's motion to dismiss the lawsuit says: "there is no fundamental right to literacy".
. . .
State lawyers ... say that "Michigan's constitution requires only that the legislature provide for a system of free public schools", leaving the details and deliver to specific educational services to the local school districts.
In other words, the state must provide for schools, but there's no obligation to make them work.
There's more at the link. Bold, underlined text is my emphasis.
If the last sentence in the report above is correct, then surely it follows that:
- The state must provide for roads, but there's no need to make them go from Point A to Point B - they can simply wander aimlessly across the countryside.
- The state must provide for health care, but there's no obligation to make it effective - after all, death is, by definition, the end of disease and injury, no?
- The state must provide for administration, but there's no need to make it work. Thus, you can apply for a driver's license, but if it takes six months to issue it, you can walk during that time. After all, it's not as if the state is stopping you traveling on foot while you wait, is it?
This is one of the most fatuous, ridiculous legal arguments I've ever heard. If the Governor and Attorney-General of Michigan are actually behind it, they need to be expelled from public office, preferably covered in tar and feathers and riding on a rail - and they need to be blocked from ever again holding any public office, down to and including deputy honorary acting unpaid second assistant dog-catcher.