“The initiative process is a mandate, significant enough to be embodied in the Idaho Constitution, that enables voters to address issues of concern. Sometimes it compels authorities to listen when nothing else will….Just as the Court would not interrupt the legislature in the consideration of a bill prior to enactment, the Court will not interrupt the consideration of a properly qualified initiative. The petition qualifies for the ballot for consideration by the voters.” —Justice Gerald Shroeder, Idaho Supreme Court 2006.
Acting Boise City Attorney Natalie Mendoza is headed down the same ill-informed road as her predecessors when it comes to attempting to violate the first amendment rights of citizens to petition their government for redress of grievances.
In a written opinion, she claims a petition from Boiseans Working Together which would place the funding of both the proposed library and ball park on the ballot for voter approval is unconstitutional.
Boise City lawyers tried the same trick 12 years ago and lost at the Idaho Supreme Court when the Christians petitioned to reinstall the 10 commandments tablet in Julia Davis Park. After 10,000 signatures were gathered, the question went on the ballot. Boise lost in the Supremes because the issue was “not ripe for adjudication.”
Ultimately voters turned down putting the tablet back in the public park. The GUARDIAN planted the idea with the Dean of the Episcopal Church where the tablet rests today to host the tablet.
When it is all said and done, no one has the right to prevent citizens from seeking a ballot initiative. Only AFTER it is on the ballot can the constitutionality be argued. If Boise refuses the petition, it would be a clear First Amendment violation.
Read our original story on the REFERENDUM process.
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