This lawsuit is an attempt by the Arizona legislature to circumvent the will of the people of Arizona as expressed in two constitutional provisions that were approved by voters. These constitutional provisions are the Independent Redistricting provisions, Ariz. Const, Art. 4, Pt. 2 § 1, and the provisions enacted through the Voter Protection Act, Ariz. Const., Art. 4, Pt. 1, § 1, (6)(B) and (C).
Other Amici supported the enactment of Proposition 106 on numerous grounds, including that it would open the redistricting process to public scrutiny and remove the responsibility for redrawing district boundaries from legislators who have “the ultimate conflict of interest” in doing so. Arizona Sec’y of State, 2000 Publicity Pamphlet, p.57 (2000), available at http://www.azsos.gov/election/2000/Info/pubpamphlet/english/prop106.pdf. (Argument for Proposition 106 by Miriam Neiman, Treasurer, Arizona Common Cause, Sun City and Dennis Burke, Executive Officer, Arizona Common Cause, Phoenix). (emphasis mine)
The individuals and organizations that appear as Amici in this case do so not only to defend Proposition 106 but also to vindicate the Voter Protection Act (Proposition 105) which was approved by Arizona voters in 1998. The Voter Protection Act amended the Arizona Constitution to establish that Arizona initiatives approved in the 1998 election or thereafter could not be repealed by the Arizona legislature, nor could they be amended unless the amendment furthered the purposes of the initiative and was passed with a three-fourths vote in each house of the Arizona legislature. [...] (emphasis mine)
Arizona law requires that Legislative Council prepare an analysis of each proposition approved for the ballot. A.R.S. § 19-124(B)*. If there had been any question about the constitutionality of Proposition 106, it would have been identified by Legislative Council. However, no such issue was ever identified by Legislative Council. Nor was the Election Clause issue, now advanced by the legislature, ever mentioned or discussed in the Publicity Pamphlet for the 2000 election or at any time during the campaign prior to the election.
Defendants [AIRC] have more than adequately addressed the Elections Clause argument advanced by the legislature in this case and Amici will not duplicate that discussion. Instead, Amici address issues of Arizona constitutional law that divest the Arizona legislature of the authority to even pursue its claim in this case.In a Capitol Media Services story posted to the East Valley Tribune this (Friday) afternoon,
Peter Gentala, an attorney for the Republican-controlled state House, acknowledged that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that individuals have no legal standing to sue over constitutional questions of federal election laws. If the Arizona Legislature cannot sue, then no one can.
But Gentala said he doubts it will come to that. He said Hogan's claim is based on a false premise that somehow Arizona voters — and the state constitutional provision known as the Voter Protection Act — can keep the Legislature from asserting rights it has under the U.S. Constitution.Did you catch that? House Speaker Andy Tobin's attorney boiled the lawsuit down to whether the VOTERS can "keep the Legislature from asserting rights IT has" under the US Constitution.
Let us refresh our memory about the bottom line regarding the US Constitution.
We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.I'm fairly confident that "our posterity" does not equate to "our corporations," or even "our state legislatures."
Since Gentala thinks the purpose of the US Constitution is to establish rights for our state legislature to assert, let's just consider an example of what the legislature has done recently to establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, promote the general welfare and/or secure those blessings of liberty to our posterity.
In this case, consider insuring domestic tranquility.
The seventh bill passed in the 2013 regular session, HB2317 provides a "work around" to people with an expired fingerprint clearance card to get a new one so they can get (or keep) a job working in schools. A fingerprint clearance card is intended to provide employers (and the people they are supposed to keep safe) assurance that the cardholder has not been convicted of certain crimes.
In HB2317, our ELECTED lawmakers are rolling the dice, laying down a bet. NOT equivalent to insuring anything. Rather, it's about taking risk and hoping they don't have to either payout huge sums of money or suffer prolonged public shaming in the event they lose the bet. For perspective, recall the Yarnell Hill fire. Somebody took a risk. 19 firefighters lost the bet.
In this case, the legislature bet they can keep our children safe even though they consistently (over the years) have declined to adequately fund the Department of Public Safety's fingerprint clearance card processing unit so that applicants can get their cards on a timely basis.
Shall we reflect back just a few days on the fact that more than 6,000 reports of child abuse or neglect were summarily ignored, swept under the rug? By the way, not long ago, the legislature privatized the CPS Hotline. How did that work out for Arizona taxpayers, not to mention children and their families?
Again, that's just a very brief example. How long would the list of travesties committed by the GOP controlled state legislature be, if anyone dared to commit enough reporting resources to compiling the evidence and publishing it? What would Arizona do if citizens were made aware? Would we let Gentala get away with claiming it's the Legislature's RIGHTS that the court needs to be concerned with?
How many of our children (posterity) will miss out on the blessings of liberty if we continue to allow the GOP to run state government on the cheap? If the legislature gets away with killing independent redistricting (in court), will you be able to tolerate the casualty list rising at an ever increasing rate?
* Note: the text of A.R.S. § 19-124(B) is,
Not later than sixty days preceding the regular primary election the legislative council, after providing reasonable opportunity for comments by all legislators, shall prepare and file with the secretary of state an impartial analysis of the provisions of each ballot proposal of a measure or proposed amendment. The analysis shall include a description of the measure and shall be written in clear and concise terms avoiding technical terms wherever possible. The analysis may contain background information, including the effect of the measure on existing law, or any legislative enactment suspended by referendum, if the measure or referendum is approved or rejected._____
Here's what Tim Hogan had to say about Gentala's statement:
I don’t think the Supremacy Clause is relevant to our argument. Our claim is that the legislature lacks the capacity to file the lawsuit because of a provision in the Arizona Constitution i.e. the Voter Protection Act. The Supremacy Clause doesn’t and can’t tell states what powers must be conferred on state legislatures. In Arizona, we have constrained the power of the legislature when it comes to voter approved measures. In this case, the Supremacy Clause requires that the Elections Clause is the law in Arizona but that doesn't mean you don’t have to have the capacity to file a lawsuit to complain about it.