Dwindling education budget funds to pay for GOP’s Churchill trial

The unending Colorado budget crisis continues. There’s not enough money, say lawmakers, to grant undocumented Colorado students in-state tuition. The Legislature this week is floating a $300 million cut to higher education.

Yet there’s lots of money to waste on political court battles that the state has no hope of winning.

This week comes news from Denver that another ham-fisted political fiat by Republican officials will cost taxpayers a fortune in legal fees and likely damage awards. This time GOP lawyers weren’t arguing the legality of torturing or spying or dictatorship, but the case they were making was just as flawed and anti-constitutional.

Jurors found that in bowing to Fox’s Bill O’Reilly and GOP Gov. Bill Owens and firing Ward Churchill, the University of Colorado regents were illegally attempting to suppress freedom of expression.

Now, we taxpayers get to pick up the tab.

Churchill’s legal fees could top $1 million in the case, and Churchill … will seek to have CU pay for his lawyers. The university estimates it has spent more than $500,000 in defense of the lawsuit.


[Denver Chief District Judge Larry] Naves has the option of ordering CU to reinstate Churchill or to shell out “front pay” instead, in which case Lane said he’d seek “five to 10 years at $110,000 a year (Churchill’s salary before he was fired) plus interest.”

It’s a lot worse than a boondoggle. And where’s the outcry from the budget hawks?

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