I recently spoke with a key legislator about a very important piece of legislation – a proposed amendment to our state constitution that actually deals with the very structure of our government. There aren’t too many legislative proposals that do that.
But he was of the opinion that this issue wasn’t really important to voters, that it was just a blip on the radar screen of issues voters care about. I think he’s wrong.
The issue is whether legislators should put on the ballot for your approval an amendment to the state constitution that would forever eliminate the opportunity for you to have any meaningful input on who sits on our state Supreme Court.
Doesn’t interest you? Well, consider that a majority of just five people in this state get to tell you what your constitutional rights are or aren’t, based on how they “interpret” the state constitution. Consider the fact that three people can interpret (and have interpreted) a statute in ways never contemplated by the legislators who passed it.
Those who sit on the Supreme Court essentially decide the rules for how politics and government work in our state. Therefore, how those judges get on the court is very important.
That being said, I understand the legislator’s statement. But I believe the reason it doesn’t seem to matter to voters is because they don’t know about it. Bet you’ve read or seen several stories about the alleged “monkey bill” that the legislature overwhelmingly passed and the Governor refused to sign. It’s been on radio and television, literally across the nation! Bet you’ve also heard about the “saggy pants” bill. Not one story, though, about the state Supreme Court battle brewing in the legislature.
But my eyes got opened yesterday when we started having some calls made to voters in some legislators’ districts telling them about the issue and asking if they would like to be patched through to their legislator’s office to leave their opinion. The response was incredible! According to the people we are working with, the percentage of people called who wanted to talk to their legislator’s office was more than twice as high as the average high for these types of phone calls. And if you looked at the low range of how many people typically want to talk to their legislator when called, it was four times higher!
The bottom line is that when voters know what’s at stake they care. And if this amendment gets on the ballot, then everybody is going to know about the issue. And they will probably want to know who voted to put on the ballot an amendment that would take their rights away.
What does that constitutional amendment say? The one some legislators and the Governor’s office appear to want to offer you? The amendment they want to offer you would forever enshrine into our constitution the establishment of an unelected, appointed commission, made up mostly of lawyers, who will determine who can serve on your state Supreme Court.
What does that mean to you as a voter? It means tough luck if that appointed commission only allows liberals with an activist mindset to serve on the state’s Supreme Court and three of those judges vote to take away your rights by judicial fiat.
When that happens -– and at some point it is bound to happen – who are you going to call to complain to? Who are you going to vote out of office? Who is going to run against them? The answer is nobody.
If you think that sometimes your elected officials don’t care about your opinion, do you really think an appointed commission is going to care?
Trust me, this issue is very important. I think the issue is newsworthy, but this may be the only place you’ll hear about it until after the legislature has voted on it. Of course, that assumes the amendment, even if passed, registers more than a blip on the mainstream media’s screen of important issues.
Please, forward this article to your friends. The public needs to know.