Thursday, September 2, 2010

Arizona Supreme Court Opinion Removing Prop. 108 (Card Check) From Ballot

(see yesterday's post for more background, link to Aug. 4 news report from Howard Fischer regarding decision)

As promised, the Arizona Supreme Court issued their unanimous opinion (Justice Hurwitz wrote a separate concurring opinion) this morning.  The 19-page opinion can be read in its entirety here.

Defenders of the ill-fated Proposition 108, which tried to linked together secret ballots in all elections for public elections with secret ballots in union representation elections, were done in by the distinction between "interrelatedness" and "topicality".  The so-called money quote from the opinion written by Justice Pelander:

Although S.O.S. Ballot argues that Proposition 108’s

two provisions establish a fundamental right to a “secret

ballot” for public elections and union representation, those

contexts are quite different and wholly unrelated. The type of

“facial relatedness” S.O.S. Ballot urges would reduce that

component of the “interrelatedness” test to a mere repetition of

the topicality requirement. (paragraph 12, pages 8-9)
The Justices were not impressed with the arguments that the two secret ballot provisions were similar to the two separate marriage-related provisions in the Arizona Together initiative in; the connection between the latter was that the first defined marriage and the second made it "exclusive in terms of legal status."

Defenders of Prop. 108 also argued that the proposition should remain on the ballot because plaintiffs waited too long to file the legal action and left the legislature with no time to modify the proposal.  The Court denied that defense, and pointed out that, in fact, the Governor and Legislature WERE able to convene a special session and put Prop. 113 (with only the union election measure) on the ballot.

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