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9th Circuit Panel Seems Unlikely to Rule in Favor of Petition Secrecy

Published on October 14, 2009, by in General.

On October 14, a 3-judge panel of the 9th circuit heard arguments in Doe v Reed, the case over whether the names and addresses of people who sign referendum petitions should be made public, or whether the Constitution protects the privacy of petition signers. The specific case arose in the R-71 battle. This year, the Washington state legislature passed a bill to provide for civil unions for same-sex couples. Because Washington state has the Referendum process, opponents of the bill filed a petition to call for a vote on the law, so that it will not go into effect unless the voters approve. The election is on November 3, 2009, and the measure is Referendum 71 on the ballot.

The panel consisted of Judges Harry Pregerson (a Carter appointee), A. Wallace Tashima (a Clinton appointee), and N. Randy Smith (a Bush, Jr. appointee). Judges Pregerson and Tashima seemed to feel there is no need for privacy for this particular petition. Judge Tashima asked, “What are the signers afraid of?” He also asked, “Can we take judicial notice of the fact that the plaintiffs represent people who are in the majority? This isn’t a persecuted minority.” The attorney for the plaintiffs said, “We don’t know yet which side is in the majority.” But one of the judges responded by saying, “You’ve won all the elections around the country so far.” Judge Tashima also said that confrontation is just part of politics.

In the meantime, also on October 14, a state court in Washington state ruled that, pending the decision from the 9th circuit, all petitions will be kept secret, not just the R-71 petitions. Judge Richard Hicks of Thurston County Superior Court made this decision, in a lawsuit filed by Tim Eyman, who has sponsored many initiatives in Washington.

7 Responses

  1. [...] calling for a public vote on expanded domestic partnership benefits.  Ballot Access News has this coverage of the oral argument held yesterday, and expresses skepticism that the panel will rule in [...]

  2. [...] Richard Winger predicts that the Ninth Circuit is unlikely to rule in favor of signature privacy. [...]

  3. Here’s hoping that the right to free access of public information holds true for Washington State.

  4. Demo Rep

    What are the signers afraid of ??? — asked one of the party hack MORON judges.

    Answer for ALL MORONS — how about getting killed or assaulted or having property destruction by some Stalin / Hitler clone type MORON who does NOT want any *high profile* issue on the ballots.

    See the various murders of folks involved in pro or con abortions.

    As usual the party hack judges never heard about any high profile controversy about the 1776 DOI, slavery from 1776 to 1865, etc. etc. — i.e. nonstop New Age MORON party hack judges.

  5. jurlesia

    @Demo Rep: Yes, because post Prop 8 in California we saw many many murders against gay marriage foes (/sarcasm). Your argument that allowing gay to have added protections under domestic partnerships is in effect the same as aborting unborn children is fundamentally flawed and MORONIC. If you actually checked the facts you would see that post prop 8 VIOLENT hate crimes against gays has risen. For instance, Robert Hannah who was guilty of murdering a gay man in a hate crime was sentenced to just 180 days yesterday. Or Jack Price, who was severely beaten last week and is still in a coma, also an unprovoked anti-gay hate crime. Or what about teens Carl Joseph Walker-Hoover and Jaheem Herrera who both took their own lives just a few months ago after enduring endless homophobic bullying in school? These examples are just a drop in the big(oted) bucket. Can you name some gay marriage foes who were recently beaten or murdered (unprovoked) simply because of their beliefs? Your tired scare tactics and accusations are not tricking anyone anymore.

  6. Demo Rep

    # 5 Try to write and/or sign a petition calling for slavery and/or monarchy in the U.S.A. — See what happens to the life, liberty and property of the authors / signers ???

    These AIN’T the good old days (whenever they were).

    The leftwing / rightwing control freaks in the gerrymander Congress and White House are playing for PERMANENT control.

    How many New Age folks are brain dead ignorant of the left/right stuff in the 1930s — left commies and right nazis killing each other in the streets in Germany in 1929-1933, the horrific left/right Spanish Civil War in 1936-1939, etc. ???

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