The Attack on Colorado’s TABOR and the Threat to Other States

January 9th, 2013 by admin Categories: Issue Papers, Publications, Revenue, TABOR, budget, constitution, initiative, petition process, spending, state, tax, taxes, taxpayer No Responses

A lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of Colorado’s Taxpayer’s Bill of Rights (TABOR) has dire implications that extend far beyond the boundaries of Colorado. The theory of the lawsuit can be used to void well-founded safeguards in the constitutions of almost all other states.

In Independence Issue Paper 12-2012, Professor Rob Natelson, II’s Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence, debunked the lawsuit’s claim that TABOR violates the requirement that each state have a “republican form of government.” In this Issue Paper, Professor Natelson and Institute intern Zak Kessler demonstrate the practical implications of the lawsuit.

If the plaintiffs win, the result will be legal and practical chaos, not just in Colorado but across the country. This is because the theory of the lawsuit is that any fiscal restraints on a state legislature render that legislature less than “fully effective” and therefore “unrepublican.” Special interests can employ this theory to destroy well-founded and long-standing safeguards against legislative fiscal abuse. Furthermore, they can use the same theory to attack the voter initiative and referendum process, and other constitutional limits on the power of state politicians.

Do Citizen Votes on Taxes and Laws Violate the Constitution’s Requirement of a “Republican Form of Government?”

October 26th, 2012 by admin Categories: Issue Papers, Publications, constitution, federal, government, petition process No Responses

Opponents of popular participation in government have long argued that when a state constitution or legislature permits the people to vote on revenue measures and other laws, this puts the state out of compliance with the U.S. Constitution’s Guarantee Clause: the requirement at all states have a “Republican Form of Government.” Traditionally, their argument has been that the Constitution draws a sharp distinction between a republic and a democracy, and that citizen initiatives and referenda are too democratic to be republican. Recently, a group of plaintiffs sued in federal court, challenging Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) relying on a variation of this theory.

In this Issue Paper, Professor Rob Natelson, Senior Fellow in Constitutional Jurisprudence and the author of the most important scholarly article on the Guarantee Clause, sets the record straight. Marshaling evidence from Founding-Era sources and from the words of the Founders themselves, he shows that the phrase “Republican Form of Government” permits citizen lawmaking—and that, in fact, most of the governments on the Founders’ list of republics included far more citizen lawmaking than is permitted in Colorado or any other American state. He further shows that the principal purpose of the Guarantee Clause was not to restrict popular government, but to protect popular government by forestalling monarchy.

Assaults on the Initiative and Referendum Rights Panel Event AUDIO

May 31st, 2011 by jlongo Categories: citizens, initiative, petition process, referendum One Response

On Thursday, May 26th, the Independence Institute held a panel event at the University Club to discuss the attacks on our citizens’ initiative and referendum rights here in Colorado. There were remarks made by several special guests plus remarks from panelists. Special guests included John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, political strategist Joe Trippi, [...]