Watch it with me and Goldy!
Eli: Yikes. They started early...
Goldy: Oh look... it's Maureen Hart arguing for the state... the woman who says I can go to Attorney General Office press conferences, but refuses to acknowledge that I have the RIGHT to do so.
Eli: Good thing you're watching this event through your computer.
Goldy: As expected, the state is not focusing on whether the clear language of the state constitution sets the standard for passing bills at a simple majority. Rather, they're focusing justiciability... whether it's a proper role for the court to step in and rule on the constitutionality of the 2/3rds requirement. Essentially, the state (and by that I mean Attorney General Rob McKenna's office) is arguing that the issue can only be ripe before the court if the legislature passes a tax increase on a simple majority and the government signs it into law. Hart simply doesn't want the court to rule on the underlying issue (BECAUSE SHE KNOWS SHE WOULD LOSE!!!!)
Eli: And now, the plaintiffs. Who will, of course, argue that this is justicable. (Is that the word, Goldy? Justicable?) "We are simply asking that this court, whose role is to rule on the constitutionality of laws, decide whether this law is constitutional."
Goldy: "Justiciability." And that is the issue, because each time this issue has previously come before court, they've managed to weasel out of making an unpopular ruling by saying that the issue was not yet justiciable.
Eli: Well, however you spell it, sounds like it's a high hurdle today.
Goldy: It's an odd argument that McKenna/Eyman are making. That it is possible to craft a bill whose constitutionality can NEVER be challenged, because it is never justiciable.
Eli: "Is there any case where we've just opened the door wide for the public interest argument for justiciability?" SKEPTICISM from the bench.
Goldy: The justices are giving the LEV lawyer a tough time on justiciability. Don't know if they're just playing devil's advocate, but it's kind of heartbreaking to think that once again we hold a hearing on 2/3rds and we don't talk at all about the underlying constitutional issue.
Goldy: OH MY GOD THIS WHOLE HEARING IS SO COMPLETELY FUCKING CRAZY!!! NO JUSTICE WANTS TO TALK ABOUT WHETHER THE SUPERMAJORITY REQUIREMENT IS CONSTITUTIONAL!!!
Eli: FINALLY. The chief justice says the issue is actually whether the constitution can be amended by statute.
Goldy: First question on the merits. From Justice Wiggins.
Eli: The justices now seem interested in the history of the rule that a simple majority is required to pass a law. They should read this.
Goldy: Oh great... a justice is citing an 1890-something edition of the Seattle Times. Not encouraging.
Eli: I'm citing Monday's Slog, which itself is citing minutes from 1889. That better?
Goldy: Citing minutes and citing the Seattle Times are not the same thing.
Goldy: "It is time to address the elephant in the courthouse."
Eli: "The elephant in the room is the voters."
Eli: Great question, from afar, from Justice Chambers: What if the voters enacted a crazy law that requires Santa Claus's signature to raise revenue? Sounds like he's ready to decide on the merits.
Goldy: Wiggins, Chambers, and Fairhurst asking questions as to the underlying issue. Positive sign.
Eli: I'd add Madsen, the chief justice, who also signaled she thinks this is justiciable. But that's only four votes.
Goldy: Let's be honest: I-1053 is constitutional in the same way that the Seahawk's final pass last night was a touchdown.
Goldy: Owens using LEV talking points.
Eli: AG's lawyer says something like: "What the framers were concerned about was the ability of a special interest to drive something through by a minority vote." This is pretty much the consequence of the 2/3 majority rule.
Eli: And, they're done.
Goldy: I don't believe we can predict a ruling from this hearing, but I've got to say that I found the hearing rather depressing. Once again the focus of discussion was justiciability rather than the underlying merits of the case, and once again a number of justices seemed to content to weasel out on those grounds.
Eli I was trying to count votes, and I didn't see five votes for justiciability. (Though not every justice made his or her opinion plain.) I also didn't see five votes for the 2/3 rule being unconstitutional. But maybe people are keeping their real opinions close.
Goldy: So, if the issue isn't justiciable until the legislature and the governor actually violate I-1053 by passing a tax increase on a simple majority and signing it into law, but to violate I-1053 would violate their oath of office, than regardless of the underlying merits, the constitutionality of I-1053 can never ever be challenged! That is what the state and Eyman are arguing, and if the court agrees then frankly, I quit, because there is no rule of law.
I mean it... if the justices pull this justiciability bullshit again I quit. Because it means everything I've worked for these past nine years has been a total fucking waste of time, so I'll just go out and make some real money for a change, and the rest of the state can go fuck itself.
Eli And with that, I think we're done.