TABOR challenge: John Suthers to vigorously defend amendment against lawsuit

Categories: News, Politics

Thumbnail image for john suthers head shot cropped.JPG
John Suthers.
The Taxpayer's Bill of Rights, which requires tax increases to be okayed by popular vote, was approved in 1992, meaning that it's been in place for nearly two decades -- and a pain in the neck to legislators for the same amount of time. Now, a coalition of lawmakers and notables have filed suit in federal court to overturn TABOR; read it below. And who'll oppose this effort? None other than Colorado's Attorney General, John Suthers.

"That's historically been our role," says Attorney General's Office spokesman Mike Saccone. "When the voters approve a law or a constitutional provision and it's challenged in court, we vigorously defend those measures, and TABOR is certainly no different."

As such, Suthers will need to counter the claim of plaintiffs including legislators Andy Kerr and Claire Levy plus 32 others that the provision requiring voter approval of tax increases violates the rules of representative government, which calls for elected officials to act on behalf of the citizenry.

Will the length of time TABOR has been functioning factor in to Suthers's strategy? "I don't know if there's any legal issue with when a challenge is brought," Saccone concedes. However, he points out that suits were filed soon after the passage of two other high-profile offerings -- 2006's Amendment 41, which banned public officials from accepting gifts worth more than $50, and 2008's Amendment 54, a campaign-contribution measure. The latter was ruled unconstitutionally vague the following year.

As of this morning, the attorney general's office had yet to be formally served with the lawsuit. "That's typically the starting point for planning how a suit will proceed," Saccone says. "We are aware of the lawsuit, and we're going to talk to the plaintiffs and figure out how service will work -- or whether we'll waive service. But it's premature at this point to talk about a schedule."

Whatever the case, the suit's progress is sure to be watched closely in Colorado and nationwide. Below, find the entire document, along with a copy of James Madison's "Federalist No. 10," which backers of the challenge see as supporting their argument.

Kerr vs. State of Colorado: Challenge to Colorado Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR) Amendment
Federalist No. 10: James Madison

More from our Politics archive: "John Suthers declares newly passed health-care plan unconstitutional."

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Robert
Robert

This suit is long overdue.  A majority of Coloradans were so ignorant of the very structure of our representative government that they voted to deprive their own representatives of their fundamental prerogative and responsibility:  that of levying taxes and spending revenue.  It does not bode well for the future of Colorado that its citizens are incapable of democratic self-government, but maybe the Court will act to preserve the government the Founders conceived a little longer against people who imagine themselves libertarian, but are really just antisocial anarchists.

mrwiizrd
mrwiizrd

Maybe if the people's representative's hadn't been so 'ignorant' of the will of their constituents the people would not have felt the need to pass TABOR in the first place…

Robert
Robert

Our system cannot function unless the People elect true representatives to govern them, but the problem is less that legislators do not represent those who elected them, but that those who elected them are inadequate citizens, in their understanding of their government, their history, politics, economics, mathematics, and English, deficient in the empathy necessary for society to exist.  I believe most of the inhabitants of the United States are better described as consumers than as citizens, and our nation, founded as a democratic republic, now subsists as a corporate oligopoly with fascist tendencies.

Eric
Eric

Great post Robert.

Robert
Robert

Is empathy a quality you ascribe to Ted Kaczynski?

mrwiizrd
mrwiizrd

Ted Kaczynski called, he wants his computer back.

Whatapuss
Whatapuss

Yet Suthers is the biggest opponent of Medical Marijuana and continues to ignore the wishes of Colorado voters in this respect. Interesting how he can pick and choose the parts of his job he wants to do. Instead of standing up for Colorado voters Suthers has consistently sided with the DEA and federal attorney's when it comes to Colorado's MMJ laws. 

Suthers, protect the laws we voted fore, that means ALL of them.

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