Nevada High Court Hears Single-Subject Challenge

Wed, Mar 5 2014 by Neal Hobson

Yesterday, the Nevada Supreme Court heard oral arguments in People’s Legislature, et al, vs. Miller, a challenge to Nevada’s single-subject rule brought by attorney and activist Kermitt Waters. Waters is also a member of Citizens in Charge Foundation’s board of directors.

Nevada’s state constitution expressly limits legislative statutes to a single subject. Waters’ lawsuit argues that the legislation imposing the single-subject rule on citizen initiatives itself contained numerous subjects in violation of the constitution – and is, therefore, unconstitutional and should be declared null and void.

That would strike down the single-subject rule as applied to citizen initiatives.

Waters points out that since passage by the Nevada Legislature, the single-subject requirement for initiative measures has been strictly enforced, blocking numerous citizen petitions. Plaintiffs in the case – The People’s Legislature, PEST Committee and Citizens Outreach – are suing Secretary of State Ross Miller, in his official capacity.

Nevada writer Vin Suprynowicz posted a story on his blog about the oral argument, entitled, “There are two ‘classes,’ you see, the peasants and the elected elite.” Suprynowicz wrote, “Arrayed against [Waters] will be the expensive and fancy lawyers of the Nevada state Legislature, the Nevada Attorney General’s office (defending Nevada’s Secretary of State), the casino industry, the mining industry, and a plethora of other special interests anxious to see that the common citizenry is left with no ability to go to the polls and do end-runs around the state lawmakers who these potentates have bought and paid to do their bidding.”

Suprynowicz also points out that in the briefs they filed, attorneys for the state legislature “just admit they’ve been violating the constitution for years.”

Nevada Supreme Court: Audio of Oral Arguments in PEOPLE’S LEGISLATURE VS MILLER

Vin Suprynowicz: There are two ‘classes,’ you see, the peasants and the elected elite

Appeal Brief from Appellents The People’s Legislature, et al Opening Brief.pdf