Chief Justice Martin's avoidance of the term "exclusively"

If parts of the Constitution don't fit your argument, just forget they exist:

Entitled "State school fund," Article IX, Section 6 provides:
The proceeds of all lands that have been or hereafter may be granted by the United States to this State, and not otherwise appropriated by this State or the United States; all moneys, stocks, bonds, and other property belonging to the State for purposes of public education; the net proceeds of all sales of the swamp lands belonging to the State; and all other grants, gifts, and devises that have been or hereafter may be made to the State, and not otherwise appropriated by the State or by the terms of the grant, gift, or devise, shall be paid into the State Treasury and, together with so much of the revenue of the State as may be set apart for that purpose, shall be faithfully appropriated and used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools."

Bolding mine, in the hopes Mark Martin's attempt to erase the word won't stick. See if you can find that word in the numerous references he makes defending this decidedly un-constitutional siphoning off of public school resources:

The manifest purpose of this section is to protect the "State school fund" in order to preserve and support the public school system, not to limit the State's ability to spend on education generally. Section 6 accomplishes this purpose by identifying sources of funding for the State school fund and mandating that funds derived by the State from these sources be "faithfully appropriated for establishing and maintaining in this State a system of free public schools." City of Greensboro v. Hodgin, 106 N.C. 182, 186-87, 11 S.E. 586, 587-88 (1890) (quoting a previous version of the provision). The first four clauses of Section 6 identify non-revenue sources of funding, two of which appear to be mandatory and two of which appear to be within the discretion of the General Assembly to otherwise appropriate as it sees fit. The fifth clause (the revenue clause) states that a portion of the State's revenue "may be set apart for that purpose"—meaning for the purpose of ** "establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools." This clause recognizes that the General Assembly may choose to designate a portion of the State's general tax revenue as an additional source of funding for the State school fund.

Thus, within constitutional limits, the General Assembly determines how much of the revenue of the State will be appropriated for the purpose of ** "establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools." Insofar as the General Assembly appropriates a portion of the State's general revenues for the public schools, Section 6 mandates that those funds be faithfully used for that purpose. Article IX, Section 6 does not, however, prohibit the General Assembly from appropriating general revenue to support other educational initiatives. See Preston, 325 N.C. at 448-49, 385 S.E.2d at 478 ("All power which is not expressly limited by the people in our State Constitution remains with the people, and an act of the people through their representatives in the legislature is valid unless prohibited by that Constitution." (citations omitted)). Because the Opportunity Scholarship Program was funded from general revenues, not from sources of funding that Section 6 reserves for our public schools, plaintiffs are not entitled to relief under this provision.

Faithful appropriation and use of educational funds was a very real concern to the framers of our constitution. Before the introduction of Article IX, Section 6 in the 1868 Constitution, the Literary Fund, which was devoted to funding public education, was routinely threatened to be used during the Civil War to pay for other expenses and was almost completely depleted by the war's end. See M.C.S. Noble, A History of the Public Schools of North Carolina 242-49, 272 (1930); Milton Ready, The Tar Heel State: A History of North Carolina 263 (2005). The framers of the 1868 Constitution sought to constitutionalize the State's obligation to protect the State school fund. In so doing, our framers chose not to limit the State from appropriating general revenue to fund alternative educational initiatives. Plaintiffs' arguments to the contrary are without merit.

If you'll notice in that first (bolded) reference, Justice Martin "quoted" the NC Constitution, and he quoted it incorrectly. He omitted "and used exclusively" in his recitation, but it wasn't just an oversight on his part. That omission was critical in giving credence to the rest of his opinion. In other sections I've marked with asterisks places where "exclusively" was left out of the conversation, also not by accident, and this level of deception (or incompetence, if you're in a generous mood) should be alarming to all of us. It's also begging for a review by the NC Bar, and (of course) appeal to the (US) Supreme Court.

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Comments

As with all my armchair legal opinions,

you are more than welcome to take what I'm saying with a grain of salt. But it doesn't take a lawyer to spot bald-faced deception and misdirection.

In 2016, 2018 and 2020, we

In 2016, 2018 and 2020, we will have opportunities to vote on State Supreme Court Justices. Our only options will be Vote to Retain or Vote Not to Retain.

That is because this particular election has been rigged by NCGA leadership to favor the Republican incumbents.

I encourage you to vote Not to Retain.

I have to admit I'm surprised

Martin has been pretty steady over the years, which I can't say for Paul Newby. But on this voucher thing, he went off the rails.

Maybe Justice Martin

added words in his own mind, rather than omitting that word, "exclusively". Maybe Martin's version reads like this:

"...used exclusively for establishing and maintaining a uniform system of free public schools, plus some non-uniform, not free private and religious schools."

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"I will have a priority on building relationships with the minority caucus. I want to put substance behind those campaign speeches." -- Thom Tillis, Nov. 5, 2014

He definitely did some

creative interpreting of the NC Constitution in this opinion, and most of it was inaccurate as hell.