The Colorado Supreme Court on Friday issued a brief order upholding the Title Board's decision to reject a proposed ballot initiative that would have used a novel method of amending the constitution while revamping much of the state's direct democracy process.
Initiative #6 from designated representatives John Ebel and Donald L. "Chip" Creager III would have established the right to ballot initiative in most divisions of government in Colorado, and would have revised the processes currently in place to put initiatives before voters.
The three-member Title Board, however, believed the measure impermissibly contained a second subject. Although not in the form of a constitutional amendment, Initiative #6 would have repealed several sections of the state constitution governing the initiative and referendum process. Board members believed the new method of changing the constitution was unrelated to the measure's main subject of petitions.
Christopher M. Jackson, an attorney with Holland & Hart, said the Supreme Court's review is as limited as the Title Board's, taking into account whether a proposed initiative adheres to a single subject and has a ballot title that adequately communicates the contents of the initiative.
"Though at the same time, a statute can't repeal a constitutional provision, and so if that really is what the initiative was doing, I imagine the courts would end up reaching that conclusion if they were ever faced with the issue," Jackson said.
The Title Board had also rejected Initiative #6 on the basis that it contained yet another unrelated subject by creating a grounds for people to sue for "any issue" on the subject of petitions.
Ebel and Creager have also filed requests with the Supreme Court to review five other similar versions of the initiative, two of which the Title Board awarded titles to, and three of which it rejected on single-subject grounds.