Republican Sen. Don Benton has never shied away from using fighting words.

The Vancouver legislator once called the editor-in-chief of this paper a “scumbag!”

More recently, a press release from his office said he’s readying himself for a “showdown” with the state’s top court.

Benton joined other Republican lawmakers (and one Democrat) urging lawmakers to consider “political, legal, and constitutional responses” after the court ordered the Legislature to pay a $100,000-a-day fine for not satisfying requirements of the so-called McCleary decision, which called for adequately funding education.

“Many of us thought the court had overstepped last year when it found the Legislature in contempt of its ruling in the McCleary case. For the justices to impose a fine on the people of Washington in an attempt to force a certain response shows they have lost touch with the concept and purpose of the constitutional separation of powers. If they want a showdown with the Legislature, this is an effective way to have one,” the press statement from Benton’s office said.

“Legislators, not Supreme Court justices, have the authority to make appropriations and spending,” Benton continued. “There are different ways to respond to this power grab; we need to have some frank discussions and choose the most appropriate path. ”


Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake

Lauren Dake covers politics for The Columbian. You can reach her at 360-735-4534 or Follow her on Twitter .

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