The Supreme Court’s land­mark rul­ing in LEV v. State has now been up on the World Wide Web for a cou­ple of hours, and we’ve been on the receiv­ing end of a num­ber of state­ments and press releas­es com­ment­ing on the deci­sion. We’d like to share some of what we’re hear­ing with you.

First, Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee released a very enthu­si­as­tic and thought­ful state­ment that we’re going to run in full, because it rocks:

The state Supreme Court did the right thing today in rul­ing that a super­ma­jor­i­ty require­ment for ordi­nary leg­is­la­tion would alter our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment. The super­ma­jor­i­ty require­ment gave a leg­isla­tive minor­i­ty the pow­er to squelch ideas even when those ideas had major­i­ty sup­port. That is incon­sis­tent with our fun­da­men­tal form of rep­re­sen­ta­tive democracy.

Major­i­ty rule is a foun­da­tion of our sys­tem of gov­ern­ment. Alexan­der Hamil­ton under­stood this and warned that giv­ing ‘the minor­i­ty a neg­a­tive upon the major­i­ty’ would cause ‘tedious delays; con­tin­u­al nego­ti­a­tion and intrigue; con­temptible com­pro­mis­es of the pub­lic good.’ James Madi­son under­stood this. And the framers of Washington’s Con­sti­tu­tion had vig­or­ous debate on the issue and were delib­er­ate in embed­ding the prin­ci­ple of major­i­ty rule in our constitution.

Those prin­ci­ples have served the peo­ple of Wash­ing­ton well, and I’m heart­ened that the state Supreme Court act­ed today to pro­tect our Constitution.

Indeed it did. Well said, Governor!

Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Chris Reyk­dahl, one of the leg­is­la­tors who par­tic­i­pat­ed in the legal chal­lenge, char­ac­ter­ized the deci­sion as historic.

“Today’s deci­sion from the Wash­ing­ton State Supreme Court may very well be the most sig­nif­i­cant deci­sion in our state’s his­to­ry. Today the court made clear that our Con­sti­tu­tion can­not be amend­ed by the ini­tia­tive process. This pro­found rul­ing means that prof­i­teer­ing ini­tia­tive writ­ers will not be able to take away pro­tect­ed free­doms and rights guar­an­teed to the peo­ple or the Legislature.”

“We must move for­ward now with cau­tion — care­ful­ly and thought­ful­ly craft­ing an equi­table tax sys­tem will take time and sin­cere com­mit­ment from leg­is­la­tors and cit­i­zens,” he added. “The restruc­tur­ing process will take years, but we can and should begin this ses­sion by estab­lish­ing a set of bipar­ti­san tax­ing prin­ci­ples – fair­ness, sta­bil­i­ty, ade­qua­cy, and trans­paren­cy are four key prin­ci­ples that will become the foun­da­tion for future trans­for­ma­tion.”

The lead­ers of the two lead plain­tiffs, the Wash­ing­ton Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion and the League of Edu­ca­tion Vot­ers, also cheered the rul­ing in a joint statement.

“This rul­ing is a huge win for kids and schools,” said Chris Korsmo, CEO of the League of Edu­ca­tion Voters.

“Wash­ing­ton schools need to be ful­ly fund­ed in order to ensure that all kids reach their poten­tial. This rul­ing, com­bined with the recent McCleary deci­sion, will help ensure that our kids have all the resources they need to get an excel­lent education.”

“This lat­est Supreme Court rul­ing paves the way for the leg­is­la­ture to ful­ly fund K‑12 pub­lic schools as man­dat­ed by the Wash­ing­ton Con­sti­tu­tion and the Court’s ear­li­er McCleary deci­sion,” agreed Mary Lindquist, Pres­i­dent of the Wash­ing­ton Edu­ca­tion Asso­ci­a­tion, which rep­re­sents thou­sands of teachers.

“We urge the House and the Sen­ate to increase fund­ing for our schools so we can begin to reduce over­crowd­ed class sizes and expand all-day kinder­garten. Our stu­dents’ future depends on it.”

“This [deci­sion] squares with Arti­cle 2, Sec­tion  22 of the State Con­sti­tu­tion, which requires a major­i­ty of mem­bers of each house vot­ing yea for the pas­sage of a bill,” not­ed Wash­ing­ton State Labor Coun­cil Pres­i­dent Jeff John­son. “The Con­sti­tu­tion does not dif­fer­en­ti­ate between pol­i­cy and rev­enue bills.”

“This deci­sion ends the tyran­ny of the minor­i­ty that the Wash­ing­ton State Leg­is­la­ture has endured for the last sev­er­al years. Under I‑1053 [and now I‑1185] all it took were sev­en­teen state sen­a­tors to block any rev­enue mea­sure from pass­ing and indeed this has hap­pened almost all the time.”

It has been won­der­ful to see so many activists cel­e­brat­ing and respond­ing to the rul­ing on social media. We have much to be grate­ful for today. Six of our nine Supreme Court jus­tices took a very brave stand and upheld our Con­sti­tu­tion in the face of pres­sure from pow­er­ful busi­ness inter­ests, edi­to­r­i­al boards, and our state’s con­ser­v­a­tive polit­i­cal appa­ra­tus. They deserve our thanks.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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