Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser is asking the Denver-based U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider its July ruling on federal judges' authority of the state's Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
Weiser, a Democrat, says they don't have such authority.
In July, two of the three judges on the appeals court said otherwise.
The case has been tied up in court since 2011, when a group of local officials sued. It argues that TABOR, put in the state constitution by voters in 1992, violates the U.S. Constitution, which gives the power to set taxes to a representative government.
The core merits of the case, however, are yet to be argued, because it's been bogged down in technicalities about who has the right to sue and, now, where it should be filed.
In July, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a two-year-old decision on whether local agencies such as a county commission and school districts have "standing" — meaning they are directly impacted — to file the lawsuit.
Now Weiser questions whether the federal courts are the proper venue for the case.
"Until this ruling, the courts have consistently ruled that federal courts are not the proper place for school boards, special districts and county commissions to resolve disagreements with their parent state over state policy," the former U.S. Justice Department lawyer and law school dean said in a statement Wednesday.
"Under controlling law, political subdivisions do not have standing to use federal courts to challenge state policies—regardless of the merits of their complaints about the policy—unless there is a specific federal law that gives them rights to do so.
As to the merits of the July ruling, Weiser said, “The political subdivisions in Kerr v. Polis do not have standing under the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The guarantee to a republican form of government is directed to the people of Colorado, not to local boards of education and county commissions."
He added that local concerns about TABOR "are better addressed at the ballot box, not the federal courtroom."