Money merely represents value; but it has come to symbolize so much more. Here, the Douglas County Public School District created a voucher system that gives taxpayer money to private and/or religious schools. The trial court held it was unconstitutional. The court of appeals reversed based on 4 conclusions: 1) courts may not inquire into the extent of religious instruction, 2) religious institutions are not directly benefited, 3) parents directed the funds, and 4) the system gave parents neutral funding choices that maintained the free educational system. The court also held Plaintiffs lacked standing to enforce a statute. It avoided deciding whether Colorado’s constitutional religion provisions were coextensive with the First Amendment. The dissent concluded the system was a pipeline of public money to religious schools, thus violating Colorado’s Constitution.
Tag Archives: Injunction
Taxpayers for Public Education and Cindra Barnard, et. al. v. Douglas County School District; Douglas County Board of Education; Colorado State Board of Education; and Colorado Department of Education, and Florence and Derrick Doyel, et. al. Intervenors, 2012COA20 (February 28, 2013)
Raptor Education Foundation, Inc., v. Colorado Department of Revenue, Division of Motor Vehicles, 2012COA219 (December 27, 2012)
The individual freedom to contract, enshrined in the US and Colorado Constitutions and known as the Contract Clause, can add another case to its storied history – specialty license plates. In 2000, the Raptor Education Foundation contracted with the Department of Revenue for the exclusive right to buy a specialty plate. In 2002, the Department was court-ordered to sell the plates only to members of the REF. In 2009, the Legislature amended the law (CRS 42-3-208) to allow non-REF members to buy the plates. The REF sued. The court of appeals, after finding that the constitutional challenge could be addressed even though it was not raised in a pleading, struck down the legislation as unconstitutional. The law violated the Contracts Clause because it was not directed at a general social problem and was an unforeseeable substantial impairment to the existing contractual relationship.
John Stulp, Commissioner of Agriculture, v. Dean Schuman and Schuman Cattle, LLC, 2012COA144 (August, 30, 2012)
The Constitution does not protect a right to own cattle if the evidence overwhelmingly shows that animals under his care were subjected to severe abuse and neglect. Here, a court entered a permanent injunction in a civil action preventing a rancher from even owning cattle. The rancher had already been convicted of 14 counts of cruelty to animals. In this case, the rancher argued a total ban was too broad and it violated his Constitutionally protected property rights. The court of appeals, comparing his actions to parental neglect, and noting the lack of any remorse or willingness to change, found the remedy of a complete ownership ban appropriate. The determination that the rancher was unfit to own livestock was upheld.