Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Republican government

No, I'm not talking about the State of the Union address, but instead today's filing of a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the Guinn v. Legislature lawsuit. (Read the petition here.) The strongest point made by the brief is that -- by setting aside the supermajority requirement in the state constitution for the Legislature to increase taxes -- the Nevada Supreme Court has violated Article IV of the U.S. Constitution, which guarantees each state a republican form of government. While defenders of Nevada's crackpot decision claim there's no way the federal justices will get involved in a decision affecting only one state, Chapman University law professor John Eastman, who wrote the brief, cites a 1992 Supreme Court decision in which the justices said they might be receptive to such a case. Eastman also notes that if this decision stands, big spenders in the dozen-plus states that also have supermajority tax-increase requirements are poised to ask their courts to similarly set aside these impediments to runaway taxes and spending. Stay tuned.

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