A Preview of What Rob McKenna's Going to Argue at the U.S. Supreme Court Next Week


The homosexual terrorist seeking to intimidate and harass signers have shown their hand by their crude threats.
The Court will find it easy to decide to protect the signers.
1 is interesting. It's basically a "state's rights" argument right? That the states law indicate that these records are to be disclosed.

But 2 and 3 seem weak. It's unclear to me how signing a petition can be a "legislative act". Signing a petition merely puts something on the ballot so that THE PEOPLE can create legislation. The petition (and the signing of it) does nothing but bring an idea before the people, citizens can still vote it down (like they do to Tim Eyman every year).

It would seem pretty "activist" for the court to overturn the 9th circuit's decision. (although I didn't really like the 9th circuit's reasoning)
In the 50s Alabama sought to force the NAACP to release the names and addresses of members. The NAACP argued that so doing would open members to harassment by the Klan. The court unanimously ruled against Alabama. The Court likes to protect citizens from bigot bully thugs. It will here as well.
3. "The final prong of his argument is that the public has a very strong interest in government accountability, and in knowing who has a hand in calling for an for an election, suspending a law, etc., through the referendum or initiative process—

and in preventing such a ballot measure from qualifying with fraudulent or insufficient signatures. "

Not even cleverly disguised bullshit, at that.
The signatures are certified by the State before they are released.
Will McKenna try to win friends on high court, perhaps, by turning toward Clarence Thomas and saying: "Like you, I'm a very white guy."
2." McKenna also contends that the very act of signing a petition empowers the voters to act legislatively. “When a citizen signs an initiative position, that voter is essentially substituting himself, or herself, for the legislature—they are acting in a legislative capacity,” McKenna said today. Thus, signing a petition, as a legislative act, is not core political speech. Rather, it empowers a voter beyond the basic rights provided in the Constitution."

McKenna isn't very good at this.

Signing the petition isn't Legislating-
many petitions will fail to gather enough signatures and have no effect.

Signing a petition is petitioning the government.

The right of petition is recognized by the First Amendment and first came into prominence in the early 1830's, when petitions against slavery in the District of Columbia began flowing into Congress.
Why do I fell like the first four posts are all by the same person? Cybil is alive and well on the internets.
@1: Was that tongue-in-cheek? Because if so, it's pretty funny.

@2: Signing a petition is a legislative act because it is necessary for the legislation to become law. If the petitions are not signed, the measure cannot advance to be voted by the people, who then ratify it so that it becomes enforceable. Now if upholding existing law is "activist," I guess, so be it...

Explaining this another way, the signing of the petition is a part of the legislative process that cannot be skipped, cannot be replaced, and absolutely should be public. The reasons for this are obvious, and have little to do with "intimidating signers": so that we can publicly verify the signatures as correct, so we can verify the government is not excluding signatures that are indeed valid, and so that we know if special interests are informing or manipulating our legislative process.

This additional fact should be obvious, though it is not relevant to the legal deliberations: that the signers of this particular piece of public legislation are behaving so selfishly as to overlook these obvious long-term implications for government transparency just so they can avoid ever being asked about their attempts to legislate for us.
You know, McKenna is pissing me off with his suit against the recent health care legislation that has passed, but I have to give him a modicum of respect for standing with the Washington Coalition for Open Gov't, etc.

Basically I'm saying kudos for being a hardline conservative instead of a conservative who's all for less gov't intrusion except for when it comes to "eww teh gayez!"
you sign the petition in public, it's a pubic record, and it's a public statement of your beliefs. it's not the ballot box. stand behind your free speech and your right to be assholes, you chicken shit assholes.

"terrorism" my ass, troll.
IN OTHER WORDS, we don't have the right to legislate without also holding up the responsibilities it entails.

Many states - in fact, a majority - do not have provisions that allow their citizens to directly rewrite their state laws and thus expose other citizens to the force of the state. In those states, the people who support given laws voice their support through their elected representative, whose position is public, while they can have their personal position remain private. This is one of the advantages of legislating through representative - rather than direct - democracy. The supporters of this legislation have this right too.

In Washington, your actual vote on a given initiative is also secret, so the people of our state have the right to have their position remain private.

But public records laws ensure that initiative measures are written and supported by the people - and not merely the manifestations of a tyrannical state government or corrupt special interests. Perhaps more important, it ensures that the Secretary of State is not counting signatures according to his personal views on the legislation being submitted. It's a check on his oversight powers.

This argument really is pretty open-and-shut that way.
Not even cleverly disguised bullshit, at that.
The signatures are certified by the State before they are released."

Yes. But how do you know the State is certifying signatures that are actually valid? How do you know it's rejecting signatures that actually are not?

I guess the troll has far more faith in government than I do... (or, for that matter, than Rob McKenna does...)
Signing the petition is not legislating.

Signing the petition does not make the proposal law.

The voters approving the measure makes it law.

Many petitions will be signed but never make it to the ballot and never become law.

Many petitions will be signed but rejected at the ballot and never become law.
Secret ballots must be abolished immediately . Explaining this another way, the voting by the people, who then ratify it so that it becomes enforceable, is a part of the legislative process that cannot be skipped, cannot be replaced, and absolutely should be public. The reasons for this are obvious, and have little to do with "intimidating voters": so that we can publicly verify the votes as correct, so we can verify the government is not excluding voter that are indeed valid, and so that we know if special interests are informing or manipulating our legislative voting process.
"In other words, the question the court will consider is this: Can a bunch of citizens sign their names and addresses to an initiative that would circumscribe the rights of other citizens, and then demand that those signatures and addresses not be made public?"

No, no, no, no, no. If that's the question the courts are considering than there's a serious problem here. The question is whether the petition process should be transparent in *all* cases or in *no* cases. When this is the question, the nature of the petition that brought the issue to court should be irrelevant. If yours is the question, then all the justices will simply vote based on how they feel about gay rights and we will all lose. (And I'll bet you a shiny nickel that's what's going to happen).
@14: The dumb is just... so overwhelming. I actually do believe public votes on referenda and initiatives should be public record as well. But that's really not the matter at hand here.

The issue at hand is whether or not the people who write initiatives should be able to lie about who they are. Whether they be good-intentioned but fearful people like the ones who signed this one, or whether they be the HomoLiberal tyrants you fear.

Do you really believe these signatures - signatures on all petitions - should be secret, that we should abolish public records laws? Really?

I know you're probably getting carried away with the ol' bigot party line, as usual, and that's fine. This is the internet after all. But think it through a little bit... this is obviously not a good thing for anyone who distrusts the government and is aware of its penchant for being corrupted.
@15, Thank you. The questions presented do not address the substance of the initiative. The questions presented are (1) whether strict scrutiny applies, and (2) if it does, has it been satisfied. That's it.

Of course the substance of the initiative will be argued and written about (as I've mentioned before, read Thomas' Citizens United dissent for a preview), but that is much different than the formal question that is presented.
@15: Exactly right. But this case may also set precedent for other public records laws. BIgots might have innocently intended to defend their intellectual cowardice, but if our public records laws are overturned, it's not hard argue all legislation should be drafted behind closed doors. It's really the exact same argument. It goes something like this:

I mean, after all, why not? We wouldn't want our elected officials being intimidated by those who disagree with the decisions they make, right? They should be allowed to make laws for the people without the hateful, intolerant discrimination of HomoLiberal fascists or anyone else. And we certainly wouldn't want corporations intimidate by HomoLiberal oppression from passing them campaign cash. God forbid. Closed door government is good government!! (I should have added random line breaks.)
Dear Sir
We are the proprietor of trademark registration [HomoLiberal™].
Widespread use of the [HomoLiberal™] trade mark has been made, to the extent that this trademark has acquired an extensive reputation and goodwill. The [HomoLiberal™] trademark is, accordingly, also a well-known mark for all relevant purposes of trademark law.
It has come to our attention that you are using the [HomoLiberal™] trademark.
In the circumstances, your use of the [HomoLiberal™] trademark will constitute an infringement of our registered and common law rights.
In the circumstances, we demand that you immediately:
1.    cease all use of the trademark [HomoLiberal™];
2.    deliver-up for destruction all material to which the [HomoLiberal™] trademark or any other mark confusingly or deceptively similar to our trademark has been applied;
3.    withdraw, cancel and/or delete any corporate names, domain names, trademark applications and/or trademark registrations for or including the [HomoLiberal™] trademark;
4.    undertake, in writing, never in future to make any use of the [HomoLiberal™] trademark without prior written authority from us, whether within any corporate name, trading name, trading style, domain name or otherwise.
This is written without prejudice to our rights, all of which are hereby expressly reserved.
Yours faithfully,
The dumb is just so overwhelming, because I actually do believe public votes on referenda and initiatives should be public record as well.
@19: Fair enough. I'll take this as caving in, and that's enough for me. Thanks for considering my thoughts on this.
What I wonder ... is how much of this argument did McKenna actually assemble & write himself? Or how much was farmed out to his staff? Its seems fairly obvious it's HIS talking points joining the suit against the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. His arguments here just don't seem very passionate or persuasive.
@20: Ahahaha, it never gets old. Do you take anything seriously? Is it all childish games to you? I figure you expect everyone to take your opinions seriously, or be declared intolerant. I guess forgive me for trying to reason with the stupid... But speaking as a matter of tone, we need to be able to hear out those we disagree with and appreciate their concerns, not dismiss them.

I try to understand that the supporters of R-71 are afraid of being targeted by civil rights groups for choosing to support this legislation. I get that. I would be fearful too. But the problem is that this arguably legitimate fear must also be weighed against the important principle of keeping our government free from corruption.

Without signature privacy, those against gay marriage still have means to make laws and be free from discrimination: they can communicate with their representatives, and they can vote for representatives that share their bigoted viewpoints and will enact them into law if elected. Their representatives' votes will thus be public, but private individuals not personally participating in law-making will remain private.

I actually do believe votes that change laws - those conducted on initiatives and referenda - should be public. I can tell you wanted to box me in with this, but you did so without knowing my other positions, so yeah, that argument collapsed. But that whole discussion is totally beside the point, which is not being talked about because... well... cowardice, perhaps? I don't know. I know I'm not here to "win" this conversation. If you really do believe laws like this should be made in secret, I'd like to further understand why.

I believe your concerns on this are, by all means, reasonable and worth further examination. I can't force you or anyone else to treat my concerns the same way. But I can try to understand where you're coming from, no matter how difficult you might try to make it.
The issue at hand is whether or not people who participate in the democratic process are to be exposed to harrassment and worse from thugs who disagree with them.
Hundreds of thousands of people participate in signing such petitions such as the one at issue. Next to voting it is the most widely participated in activity in the process.
They have a right not to be CONFRONTED at home.
They have a right not to be HARASSED at their business or place of employment.
The Homosexual Brownshirts went too far in proclaiming their intentions to confront signers.
This is a new development in the petition process.
The right of the public to know must balance the right to participate without harassment.
The Court will look at this new disturbing development and decide how to balance those interests in the current environment.

The Homosexual Brownshirts also went too far in harassing the businesses of Prop 8 donors and getting donors fired. Don't be surprised to see changes in what information political donors must report and make public, as well.

The Homosexual Brownshirts are True Believer Zealots who believe any means justifies their ends. They see no need to tolerate those who disagree with them, or to treat them civilly. Their tactics reflect that.

The Court is there to protect the rest of us from the likes of the KKK and Aryan Nations and Homosexual Thugs.

Liberals concerned about keeping the process open would aid their cause by reigning in the violent intolerant members of their coalition.
if you don't want to be confronted or harassed at your home, don't petition for a law that would encourage people to come to your home to confront and harass you.

If you don't want to be bashed, beaten and left tied to a fence don't act like such a faggot.
Yep, you're so right. I think going through all the work of killing me is more difficult than just letting me benefit from the same rights as you.