Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Court strikes down petition law; OK3 vindicated

On Dec. 18, a unanimous 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals struck down as unconstitutional Oklahoma’s law that bans non-residents from circulating petitions to place proposed laws and constitutional amendments on the ballot.

The law was challenged by a group known as Yes on Term Limits Inc. which wants to circulate petitions to place a constitutional amendment on the ballot to limit terms of state officials.

This is a victory also for Paul Jacob and the Oklahoma 3, who were being prosecuted on felony charges under this law, in spite of the fact that they were following the law as explained to them by state officials. The real crime was pushing a tax-and-spending limitation amendment which -- like term limitation -- is anathema to the political establishment.

Attorney General Drew Edmondson has not officially withdrawn his legal attack against the OK3 and also vowed to appeal the decision. Of course he will. Authoritarians have always objected to the citizens' right to petition for redress of grievances. That's why it had to be singled out for inclusion in the first amendment.

"It appears the Oklahoma Three received an early Christmas present and Edmondson got his well-deserved chunk of coal," said Oklahoma State Senator Randy Brogdon. "Tis the season to do the right thing. Hopefully Edmondson will withdraw any further lawsuits."