Florida Supreme Court Reverses Itself

Published February 1, 2005

On December 28, 2004, the Florida Supreme Court backed away from its December 24 order telling Gov. Jeb Bush he would have to file his initial appeal briefs by December 30 in a case challenging the constitutionality of the state’s Opportunity Scholarship program. Instead, the court gave all parties about three more weeks to file their arguments.

On November 12, Florida’s 1st District Court of Appeals struck down the Opportunity Scholarship program on the grounds it violated a provision in Florida’s constitution barring public funds being used to aid any religious institution. (See “Appeals Court Strikes Down Florida Vouchers,” School Reform News, January 2005.)

When the state filed notice of its appeal to the state’s high court in mid-December, opponents asked the court to rule on the appeal before the start of the 2005-06 school year. On December 20, the justices denied that request for an expedited ruling, but four days later also denied a request by the governor for additional time and told him he had less than a week to file his initial briefs.

After a request for reconsideration of the denial by Attorney General Charlie Crist on December 27, the justices relented.

George A. Clowes ([email protected]) is editor emeritus of School Reform News.