Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Cheap at the Price

The ACLU has agreed to accept about half of the attorney's fees they are entitled to for defending the U.S. Constitution and pressuring Pace High School to end its decades-long religious instruction in that public high school. $195,000 is cheap at the price.

Doubt it? The school's defense attorneys have billed the district more.
As of June, the [school] district had been billed by its own attorneys about $200,000 in legal fees. That included $21,739 to the district's attorney, Paul R. Green, $148,435 to the Sniffen law firm of Tallahassee; and $29,280 to the Carr Allison firm of Tallahassee.

Superintendent Tim Wyrosdick said Tuesday... he did not yet know how much more money the district will owe its attorneys. [italics added]
These numbers may numb the mind of many locals who live from paycheck to paycheck. And everyone, the ACLU included, would rather have seen the money spent more directly in the classroom -- say, for books or teachers.

But don't blame the ACLU. They aren't the ones who for years used the school's audio system to pump presbyterian prayers daily into Pace High classrooms at the beginning of every school day. They aren't the ones who took U.W.F. college teaching students on their practicums and exposed them to routine religious proselytizing in the classroom.

If, as threatened, one of the low-paid office secretaries at Pace is cajoled by the "Christian Educators Association International" into authorizing the filing of a new lawsuit or into appealing the old judgment, look for the lawyers on both sides to make even more money. They won't like it any more than we do.

Over the years, we've come to know a lot of lawyers in a lot of states who practice constitutional law. More than most folk, the smart ones on both sides of cases like the Pace High School fiasco know the vital importance of secular public education to America. Privately, as citizens, most we have met say they'd rather see the money spent in the classrooms, too.

But this is America, where any crank is free to go to court in a losing cause and, like anyone in business, the lawyers are free to charge them for their efforts.

More Pace High School Religious Instruction

Sept. 18: Late Editorial Update ("Homo Neanderthalensis")
Sept. 17: Pictures of a Pep Rally
Aug. 22: Stupid, Not Contemptuous
Aug. 5: The One and Only Faith
Aug. 4: Frank Lay's Criminal Contempt Order
May 31: Principal Lay Has a 'Come to Jesus' Moment
May 27: Laying Down the Puritan Law
May 15: Southern Hos-Pee-Tility

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