Wednesday, April 28, 2010

US Supreme Court Hears, "WA State v. The People" Today

The R-71 free speech case will be heard today by the Supreme Court of the United States. The nation is watching.

Here's why.

Surprisingly, The Seattle Times who are on the record supporting Reed and McKenna, published an op-ed from our attorney, James Bopp, Jr. and Scott F. Bieniek.

The following is an overview of our case:

*Rather than embrace the opportunity to publicly debate the merits of the domestic-partnership law, opponents of R-71 vowed to obtain copies of the petitions hoping to place the names and addresses of the signers on the Internet to encourage "uncomfortable conversations," similar to those that happened in California regarding Prop. 8.

*Secretary of State Sam Reed agreed to become a willing participant in such campaign tactics by ruling that the state Public Records Act "required" disclosure of the petitions.

*More than 1,100 petitions have been filed with the Secretary of State since the law was enacted in 1972.

*In 2006, Reed became the first Secretary to release copies of petitions and Referendum 71 would be only the 9th petition released pursuant to the law or otherwise. Only an emergency order from the US Supreme Court on the eve of the election prevented what attorney Bopp calls, "tactics usually reserved for the schoolyard bully."

*Petition signers are not legislators. Sam Reed and Rob McKenna are wrong on that argument. Petition signers are not elected representatives and should not be treated as such. The petition signers are no more elected representatives than the 1.8 million who voted in that particular election. Should their votes be made public?

*This case is bigger than homosexual marriage. It is about the right of everyone to speak freely on the most salient and controversial issues facing our nation today and to do so free of threats, intimidation and bullying.

James Bopp notes that fittingly today's case will be Justice John Paul Steven's last as a member of the US Supreme Court.

Bopp concludes, "After an appropriate celebration of his storied career, the attention will turn to the individual nominated to fill his vacancy, and no doubt, the nominees record. The question in Doe v. Reed is, should the fact that the nominee signed a petition be part of that record? And should it be part of your record the next time you apply for employment? If the First Amendment means anything, the answer is no."

I have had a number of conversations with James Bopp. He is very capable, highly qualified and a godly man.

Be Prayerful. Be Vigilant. Let Not Your Heart Be Troubled.

7 comments:

  1. Yes the outcome will be very interesting. Yes the nation will be watching. The right of privacy applies to all, and that right is not selective. I personally could care less about the list of names gay activists want for the purpose of harassment. However privacy rights apply to all people, and if the supreme court gives this list to gay activists or anyone else they will reveal their agenda. This I know, I will remember in November.

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  2. Very interesting case, I think there should be protections put in place to keep voters who sign a petition from being intimidated by activists whether they are progressive or conservative.

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  3. Your first point couldn't be more wrong. Not only did opponents of R-71 embrace the opportunity to publicly debate the domestic partnership law, by exposing the lies and misinformation of their opposition, they won that debate!

    To the poster at 9:23, there already are laws to protect everyone, not just petition signers, from being harassed or intimidated. As the lack of prosecutions of Gary and Larry's supposed "death threats" makes clear, the harassment and intimidation alleged simple does not exist.

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  4. I do not think the right to application here. When you sign an initiative you are a sense a co sponsor of that specific legislation . Also I do believe it is allowed for people to make sure you are a registered voter ?

    In either case what made this so interesting " not for the signers" is the harassment that has been applied and given to people who support political positions that are so unpopular in certain circles. . In this case the homosexual political activists have a reputation of unethical and harassing behaviors that have been publicized in the mainstream media such as the Mormon Church . Also harrassing behavior extended towards homosexuals has seen some behavior or the threat of such deemed almost neccessary or tolerable because of the extreme support for homosexual rights.

    Also in areas such as academia and media circles unless you are supportive of gay rights you are left out of other conversations . It is looked upon as being prejudiced against say a Black person . This is often used here by activists promoting special rights . Most all of us would never consider saying a black person could not be married , but the debating tactic is to put tou in this light . No one wants to be a labeled bigot, and the left is great at doing this politically to gain compliance. This tactic I believe has hurt homosexuals more in a humane nature of acceptance and human interaction but politically a success.


    I would say if I was a Judge and with my limited knowledge of the Constitution I would have to side with allowing the names to be made public. Not the end of the world , but easy for me to say.

    Mick

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  5. The Jim Lehrer News Hour interviewed MZ Coyle a law review reporter this evening. She described both sides of the case--never mentioning the fear and harassment innocent people have been subjected to for signing this petition. McKenna is a coward. He stood in front of the Supreme Court and made the most outrageous claim: that to vote is to make ones' opinions public, therefore one must be prepared to be harassed. Yikes! On the same day(today) the court gave us Christians, or Republicans, or simple citizens a gift. The court said it would allow a wooden cross to stand on public land (Federal land). This tells me that the deal has already been struck. We get a wooden cross Gregoire and the homosexual community will get the freedom to harass at any level, any individual attempting to stop their attack on our values, our nation, and our system of laws. Today we lost big time.

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  6. I am with you on this one .
    These names should be kept secret.
    These issues are emotional issues.
    The rhetoric is becoming more and more fear rhetoric .
    When people are afraid they are more prone to violence. People should not be afraid to vote or sign initiatives.

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  7. The court said it would allow a wooden cross to stand on public land (Federal land).
    Ummm, no. If you followed the case you would know that the land the cross was on was made private property. A lower court said this was still illegal since was an obvious end run around the restriction. The Supreme Court said no,you can allow the transfer to private land.

    The transfer of the cross to private property will be allowed by the review of the lower court.

    As to petition signers being public record we have seen by the judges' reactions you've lost. Signing a petition is a legislative process and each signer should be public record just like all the cosigners of bills presented in the legislature are. No you don't have a right to submit legislation in secret.

    As to the cowardliness that is used as an excuse what can be said but to repeat Justice Scalia and go out and get some 'civic courage'. I personally think that the Secretary of State's office should as a matter of course publish online a database of names and 5 digit zips of signers of all initiatives and referendum signers.

    Seriously what's going to happen? Not get invited to the next block party?

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