Read a Pacific Northwest, liberal perspective on world, national, and local politics. From majestic Redmond, Washington - the Northwest Progressive Institute Official Blog.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

BREAKING: State Supreme Court agrees to hear I-960 legal challenge

The Washington State Supreme Court has agreed to hear the legal challenge filed by Futurewise and SEIU 775 last May alleging that Initiative 960 is outside the scope of the initiative process, NPI has learned.

The case is being appealed from King County Superior Court where Judge Catherine Shaffer refused to grant the plaintiffs' request.

I explained what the "scope" issue is about when I spoke before the Association of Washington Business back in June:
As you might expect, an idea that’s this undemocratic doesn’t conform to the supreme law of our land – the state Constitution. Because I-960 attempts to amend the Constitution - which cannot be done through initiative in our state - it is outside the scope of the initiative process.

The courts have held that such a measure can be set aside prior to an election. Consequently, a lawsuit was filed several weeks ago to block I-960 from the ballot regardless of whether the necessary signatures are collected. This suit is currently pending in King County Superior Court.

Before going any further, I want to clarify that normally issues of constitutionality are decided after a initiative takes effect, not before. But in this case, the initiative is not simply unconstitutional, it is a deliberate attempt to amend the Constitution. Deceptively, it’s legislative in nature, not a properly drafted constitutional amendment. It’s like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, to use that old metaphor.

This “scope” issue is distinctly separate. It’s this difference that makes a successful legal challenge possible prior to certification. I-960 may never appear before voters.
This is fantastic, surprising news and we hope the Court sets a precedent that curbs abuse of our state's cherished tradition of direct democracy by striking down I-960. Oral argument has been scheduled for September 6th at 1:30 PM.

We plan to be there bringing you live coverage.

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