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Sun., July 7, 2013

Process could boomerang

Can we, just for a minute, stop thinking about sex?

Imagine there were an initiative right here in Washington, voted into law by a clear majority. Then somebody sues, and a judge strikes it down. The people seek redress, but Olympia decides not to defend it. So the people take their plea to the U.S. Supreme Court, because where else can they go, if their own state won’t defend its own laws?

The people behind that initiative put their time and money into that law: collecting enough signatures to get the initiative on the ballot, advertising it, defending it against the opposition, etc. But the Supreme Court says they have no standing.

If the state won’t defend its own law and the court won’t even consider it, then do we still have a government of the people, by the people, for the people?

Can we please consider the implications of the process that has clearly failed, rather than the specifics of the law in question? Because the next time an initiative goes undefended by a state, it could be your favorite issue that is given the legislative pocket veto, and you will be the one saying “Wait! That isn’t right!”

Mary Sorensen


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