Montana Supreme Court Weighs I-154’S Fate

Both sides in ballot-initiative fight file appeal briefs

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In accordance with the September 19, 2006, order of the Montana Supreme Court, all briefs have been filed inMontanans for Justice v. State. The state’s high court, which is considering an appeal from Montanans in Action and other organizations that it funds, had requested that all the briefs be filed by October 3.

The original ruling by District Judge Dirk M. Sandefur threw Initiative 154, a takings and eminent-domain proposal, off the ballot. Sandefur also rejected two constitutional-amendment initiatives: CI-97, a proposed limit on state spending, and CI-98, a proposal to allow voters to recall state court justices and judges. Sandefur found a “pervasive pattern and practice of fraud and procedural noncompliance” attributable to those who collected the required signatures to put the initiatives on the ballot.

The Montana Supreme Court has not announced whether it will hold oral arguments, how many judges will consider the appeal, or when it will issue its ruling. It is already too late to remove the three initiatives from the printed ballots, but election officials will not tabulate the results unless the high court reverses Sandefur’s decision.

Read the appellants’ opening brief (1.24 MB)

Read the State of Montana’s brief in response (977.62 KB)

Read the plaintiffs’ brief in response (1.32 MB)

Read the appellants’ reply brief (122.93 KB)

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