David Leroy, who argued on behalf of Coeur d’Alene Racing LLC in the instant racing veto case, called today’s Idaho Supreme Court ruling “a sweeping and significant precedent.” The court rejected arguments, from him and others, that the Coeur d’Alene Tribe didn’t have standing to sue over the issue, he noted. “It swept aside the traditional limits on standing to say that if the question before the court is … of sufficient constitutional significance, the court will hear the case if any party complains, or perhaps no party at all,” Leroy said. “It surprises me that they swept that aside so boldly today.”
In their decision, the justices wrote, “If the Tribe does not have standing to bring this writ, the question then becomes, who does? Neither the members of the Senate, the Governor, nor the Secretary of State appear ready or willing to challenge the constitutionality of the Governor’s purported veto or of the Senate’s actions in this case. Thus, if the Tribe could not bring this writ, there would be no one to enforce the important constitutional provisions involved in this case or to ensure that the integrity of the lawmaking process is upheld.” The case, the court found, “involves a fundamental constitutional provision.”
Leroy said other precedents set by the decision include standards for examination of the contents of official Senate journals, and clarifying what the Constitution means when it says a bill must be “returned” by a certain date. “This court has now defined what ‘returned’ in the Constitution and statute means – actually physical delivery,” Leroy said. “That was an open question prior to this case.” He said, “They have said they will take a very activist role in being the constitutional referees in a battle such as this.”
Leroy said he had just reviewed the decision and hadn’t yet had a chance to confer with his clients, who operate the Greyhound Park Event Center in Post Falls. “There’s no appeal from this,” Leroy said. “It’s my belief the possibility of rehearing is available under the rules,” but he said the parties hadn’t conferred about that idea.