A University of Kansas Law Professor believes that though the Legislature showed its work, its amicus brief in the school funding case may not
make much difference in what the court ultimately decides.
“Amicus briefs generally aren’t the deciding thing for the court,” said Lumen “Lou” Mulligan, the director of the Shook, Hardy & Bacon Center
for Excellence in Advocacy at KU. “The court will pay attention to every brief in front of it, to be sure, but they’ll look much more closely
at the plaintiff’s brief, look to the four school districts, and to the state’s brief, which comes out of the Attorney General’s office. Those
will be the documents much more central to the court’s analysis.”
The plaintiffs’ position is that base state aid is not even close to adequate and that schools shouldn’t open until it is.
“The plaintiffs’ political tool here is the threat of closing the schools,” said Mulligan. “That’s what gives them the impetus to make the
state operate. Our state legislators don’t want to go home to their home districts and explain to their constituents why the schools are
closed. That’s why it would make sense that the plaintiffs would want to have that tool.”
The state’s position is that the bill that was passed is adequate, and even if it is not, that no branch of government should want the schools
“Let’s make sure these kids go to school,” said Mulligan. “If this isn’t adequate, give us another chance to fix it. Let’s come back again
next year, or perhaps even call a special session and we can get this fixed even going into spring semester.”
Oral arguments are scheduled for July 18th and the court will decide soon after that.
“I should think that the court will proceed with as much speed as it possibly can,” said Mulligan. “I would think the end of this month would
be the earliest it could get an opinion out.”
The response briefs in the case are due Friday.