Friday, June 08, 2007

Utah Supreme Court Dismisses Judicial Activism Request

Please take careful note of this exchange between Mr. Christenson, and Justice Wilkins. (My apologies on my spelling, I transcribed this myself).

Justice Wilkins: "Mister Christenson, the difficulty that we face, obviously, is that the ballot title statute limits our legal authority to modify ballot title to 'patent falsehood, or bias'. Is there something about the ballot title that is either 'patently false, or biased'?"

Christenson: "I do understand that limitation, but I think this case is so unique, and so unusual, that to simply submit the form of 148 to the voters without their knowing the effect of their vote--that of course could come later in a subsequent proceeding-- but, it will chill the enthusiasm for people involved in this vital issue. It will probably limit the voter out turn, and I think this court has the power. It's been given this task by the legislature. This court has the power to say that under these very unusual circumstances--uh, I have not seen a case like this--"

Justice: "Uh, we have! Not..not with this many folks. But, everyone that comes to us with a ballot title concern feels just as vitally concerned as you and your folks do. And, um, the legislature has given us authority by statute to address it, but they have severely limited that authority, and if you want us to do something that's outside that authority you better help us find a way to do it!"
The Justice is right that it is not the courts place to legislate. Of course, the court has subsequently found that HB 174 does not stand on its own. Go here to listen to the whole exchange yourself.

I agree with the court that the legislature has created this mess by not being clear in the two bills. The Governor should have jumped in and called a special session for the purpose of clearing the air.


Natalie said...

I haven't listened to the transcript, but I understand that Clark Waddoups, attorney for PCE, argued that the best way to clarify the issue is to throw the referendum out. Hmmmm. I am glad they didn't agree with him.

Jeremy said...

Natalie is right...if there was any plea for judicial activism it came from those who wanted to separate HB 174 from HB 148. It seems funny to me that the only people who don't see it that way are the ones who have been arguing for vouchers...even in the face of a unanimous panel of judges from the Utah Supreme Court who disagree with them.

Tyler Farrer said...

Who did Mr. Christianson represent?

Tyler Farrer said...

Christenson says that his clients sponsored the referendum petition.

He clearly asked the Justices to be activist. I had no idea that there were pro-voucher calls to activism in this setting.

Please show me where these other calls to activism are?