Tuesday, March 06, 2007

California Statewide Communities Devel. Auth. v. All Persons Interested (Cal. Supreme Ct. - March 5, 2007)

Establishment cases make strange bedfellows.

Fairly rarely do you see a 4-3 in the California Supreme Court that lines up with Justice Kennard backed by Chief Justice George and Justices Baxter & Corrigan, on the one hand, versus Justice Chin backed by Justices Werdegar and Moreno. But that's precisely the case here.

The case is a big win for hugely religious schools, since the California Supreme Court holds that public entities can aid even pervasively sectarian establishments through tax-exempt bonds. That's huge. Huge.

Ultimately, I think that the U.S. Supreme Court has to step in on this one, particularly since many other courts -- especially federal courts -- have (and would) come out differently on this issue. But I'm not so sure that the current Court really wants to pick that fight. Which, as today's decision reveals, isn't at all an easy one. Regardless of which side you're on.