Earlier this afternoon, the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that Secretary of State Mark Ritchie doesn’t have the authority to change the title of the proposed constitutional amendments. They also ruled against “liberal-leaning groups” who sought to keep the proposed Photo ID ballot question off the ballot:
ST. PAUL, Minn. – The Minnesota Supreme Court has thrown out ballot title changes submitted by Secretary of State Mark Ritchie for two constitutional amendments voters will address this fall.
The high court on Monday rejected the titles written by Ritchie for the photo ID amendment and another amendment that would ban gay marriage in the state.
Republicans had argued that Ritchie overstepped his authority and was trying to influence voters to reject both amendments.
In a separate decision, justices also shot down a lawsuit from liberal-leaning groups who argued that lawmakers had failed to give voters the full scope of the changes that would result from the photo ID amendment.
These are stinging defeats to Secretary Ritchie, Common Cause, the ACLU-MN and the League of Women Voters-MN. The Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that the remedy sought by the ACLU-MN and the LWV-MN wasn’t warranted:
The court majority wrote that the photo ID ballot question “is not so unreasonable and misleading” that it should be taken off the ballot. The justices said striking the question from the ballot would have been “unprecedented relief” and that the voters will be “the sole judge of the wisdom of such matters.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling diplomatically says that the ACLU-MN, the LWV-MN and Common Cause tried to use the courts because they couldn’t win at the ballot box. The Supreme Court essentially said that the legislature has the authority to pass ballot questions and that citizens have the right to vote yes or no on the proposed constitutional amendments.
Ritchie changed the title for the marriage ban from “Recognition of Marriage Solely Between One Man and One Woman” to “Limiting the Status of Marriage to Opposite Sex Couples.”
He rewrote the photo ID title from “Photo Identification Required for Voting” to “Changes to In-Person & Absentee Voting & Voter Registration; Provisional Ballots.”
Citing its own precedent, the court found that when the Legislature includes its own title for ballot questions, then it goes beyond the authority of the secretary of state to replace it. The majority opinion said the secretary of state has “no constitutional authority over the form and manner of proposed constitutional amendments,” and directly ordered Ritchie to restore the original wording as set by the Legislature.
Secretary Ritchie intended to influence the outcome of a constitutional amendment based on his political preferences. That’s unacceptable because he’s a constitutional officer, not an elected politician.
That’s why Secretary Ritchie should be impeached.
Secretary Ritchie’s disdain for upholding the Constitution is showing. His attempt to confuse voters is a political act that the Constitution doesn’t allow and that Minnesota voters can’t tolerate. He’s a political hack who’s attempting to give himself extraconstitutional responsibilities.
Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.