Secretary of State Kim Wyman rips Seattle judge while defending I-1366

by | Aug 28, 2015

Tough stuff.  That’s what you’ll find in Secretary of State Kim Wyman’s legal brief defending I-1366.  In it, she rips into that Seattle judge with unbridled enthusiasm:

*  While the superior court’s ultimate conclusion denying the injunction was correct, its analysis was flawed.  This Court should hold that Initiative 1366 should remain on the ballot for a decision by voters. … the people of the State of Washington should have an opportunity to exercise their fundamental constitutional right to enact or reject Initiative 1366 in the upcoming election.

*  The superior court reached the right result in determining that I-1366 should remain on the ballot, yet much of the superior court’s rationale and its findings and conclusions were incorrect as a matter of law and of fact. … While designated as findings of fact, they are in essence conclusions of law that should be reviewed de novo (from scratch).

*  The Secretary of State disputes that some of the Plaintiffs have established the requisite standing to bring their challenge against I-1366 … county elections officials overreach in their assertions that they will be burdened by I-1366’s placement on the ballot … nothing in I-1366 requires the plaintiff legislators to propose a constitutional amendment or to vote for or against any constitutional amendment should one be proposed.  Thus, none of the plaintiff legislators would be harmed by a popular vote on I-1366.

*  In determining whether I-1366 should remain on the ballot, the superior court below did not restrain itself to the narrow inquiry of whether I-1366 was within the State’s legislative power under article II, section 1.  Rather, the superior court summarily assumed that the measure was not after (1) engaging in an inappropriate inquiry of whether I-1366 violated article XXIII, the constitutional provision setting forth requirements for constitutional amendments and (2) making assumptions not found in the actual text of the initiative.  Neither comports with the limited and narrow scope set forth by this Court for reviewing an initiative prior to an election, and should be rejected.

*  Contrary to the superior court’s uncritical acceptance of Plaintiffs’ assertions, I-1366 does not improperly invoke the constitutional amendment process. … Each of these was an erroneous assumption made by the superior court but not supported by the actual text of the measure itself.

*  Plaintiffs’ argument here is akin to the ones this Court rejected in Futurewise and Coppernol.

*  I-1366 is within the people’s legislative power.

*  I-1366 does not amend the state constitution.  Rather, I-1366 proposes a change in state statute and is therefore within the plain language of article II initiative power.

*  Nothing in the state constitution suggests that the people cannot express through initiative their desire for a constitutional amendment. … The superior court’s implied conclusion that the original idea or motivation for a constitutional amendment can only come from the legislature itself, and not from the people, is absurd.  If that were the case, then no individual legislator could ever take up a constituent’s proposal for amendment.

*  Encouraging the legislature to initiate the constitutional amendment process is not the same as forcing the legislature to do so.

*  This court has also recognized that enacting conditional legislation is a valid legislative power … Many statutes, including ones related to elections, contain contingent legislative provisions.

*  Nothing in I-1366 forces or restricts these legislative choices and other possible avenues for addressing the initiative.

*  Both the Plaintiffs and the superior court ignore the actual text of the initiative and improperly engage in a substantive review.

*  I-1366 should remain on the ballot. … Plaintiffs’ request to enjoin I-1366’s valid placement on the ballot fails.  The voters’ fundamental right to vote on an initiative should not be abridged … Even though the superior court allowed the initiative to remain on the ballot, the superior court erred in concluding that I-1366 fell outside the people’s initiative power.

Respectfully submitted
REBECCA R. GLASGOW, CALLIE A. CASTILLO, & PETER B. GONICK, Deputy Solicitors General, Representing the Secretary of State

— END —

         Initiative 1366 is on the ballot — so it will take the state supreme court reversing the lower court’s ruling keeping it on the November ballot.  Such an action would contradict 2 unanimous state supreme court rulings (2005’s Coppernol 9-0 ruling and 2007’s Futurewise 9-0 ruling).  The deadline for doing so is Friday, September 4th.

         We will continue to keep you updated on this.