On Monday, June 26, while the legal world was watching for decisions from the U.S. Supreme Court and for a possible retirement announcement, the Supreme Court of Georgia unanimously affirmed the rejection of a challenge to Georgia’s Opportunity Scholarship program. That program allows businesses and individuals who contribute to not-for-profit school scholarship organizations to receive a dollar-for-dollar tax credit of up to $1,000 for individuals, $2,500 for married taxpayers, and the amount contributed or 75% of a corporation’s income tax liability, whichever is less. The organizations then distribute the donated funds to schools, some of which are religious, to pay tuition on behalf of eligible students. The program is very popular as its $56 million annual cap is quickly subscribed.
The program is also popular with the parents and children who are the beneficiaries of the scholarships and the related educational opportunity. Four parents, represented by the Institute of Justice with assistance from Strickland, Brockington Lewis LLP as local counsel, intervened to help the State defend the program. [Read More]
Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia is expected to sign an expansion of the state's supreme court from seven to nine justices. Read more at The Atlanta Journal Constitution.
The Arizona legislature also passed an expansion of the state's supreme court. If Governor Doug Ducey signs the measure, it would move the court from five to seven justices. In addition to the the high court, the bill would expand state probation funding and increase judicial pay. Read more at ABC 15.
Delaware's legislature is debating whether or not to repeal the state's death penalty. The issue was expedited in response to a Delaware Superior Court judge asking the Delaware Supreme Court to consider whether capital punishment is constitutional in light of the United States Supreme Court's recent jurisprudence on the issue. Read more at Delaware Online.
Georgia Supreme Court Chief Justice Hugh Thompson has asked the state's legislature to narrow the highest court's appellate jurisdiction to focus only on critical issues of law. Currently the court decides a much broader swath of cases than is typical in most states. Read more at 41 NBC.
In Arkansas, judicial selection is again a subject of discussion in the wake of a newspaper report detailing campaign contributions to judicial candidates. Read more at Arkansas Online.
Governor Nathan Deal of Georgia is said to be considering a push to expand the state's supreme court from seven justices to nine. Read more at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice N. Patrick Crooks passed away yesterday in his chambers at the age of 77. The court held a moment of silence before beginning today's session of oral arguments. Read more at the Washington Times.