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Supreme Court To Hear Oral Arguments Over R-71 Names

The US Supreme Court is scheduled to start oral arguments on April 28th over the release of the names of  those that signed Referendum 71, which was the failed bid in 2009 to try to over turn WA new "every thing but marriage" domestic partnership laws at the time.   The case which concerns the release into public record, as prescribed by washington state discolor law, of 138,000 names of those who signed the potion in order to get it onto the ballot.  As noted washington state law requires that the names of those who sign potions be released into public record where they are free for any one to access, and this has been the law for the last 40 yeas since it was instituted threw a voter approved initiative itself.

Protect Marriage Washington who is the group that the case is being fought on the behalf of is trying to fighting it on the grounds that the petitions process is granted a "constitutional right to anonymous free speech with out facing criticism" and are trying to argue that the petition process is as integral and inherently private and important part of the political process as voting.  This gets me hot under the collar for a variety of reasons the most notable of which is that this is nothing inherently privet or antonyms about the petition process at all!  Fist off it is perfectly legal in the state of washington signature gathers are "private" citizens they are not elections officials so its Joe Blow off the street that the is ether volunteering their time to the political organization that is trying to get its initiative on the ballot or more likely its Joe Blow of the street that is getting payed to gather signatures for said political organizations initiative. (which is perfectly legal in Washington state along with lying about what the initiative will do and what its about) Then we get in to the fact that you are signing your name along with other information needed to confirm your voter registration onto a a form on a clipboard being carried around by some stranger(with no form of official ID)  in public parking lots, out front of stores.  Non of those places are private non of them are anonymous and prevent other people from seeing you "exercising your anonymous freespeach" nor the fact that the paper work remains on the clipboard and is often used to demonstrate how much "support" their is for an issue (I have seen the plenty of times when being abused by signature gatherers) provides anonymity. It is nothing like voting not only in the fact that its done totally out in the public instead of  in the privacy of your own home (or a voting both for any counties that are not all vote by mail now) but it also dose not indicate a vote of support one way or another on an issue just that the signer wishes to see the question put on the ballot legally speaking.



I think this quote just paints the prettiest picture to how stupid what their saying is
"If you're so worried about your privacy, why would you give a total stranger with a clipboard in a public place like the Fred Meyer parking lot your signature? Would you sign your loan documents that way? You have no idea who that person is or what they might do with your signature. Clearly you weren't worried about your privacy when you signed them."  ThinkAboutIt


Then we get into the other part of their argument which is that they fear that if the names are realized they will be meet with "threats, harassment and reprisal"  on their allegations of gay rights groups harassing signers of a similar petition in California.  They dismiss the fact that the law already has mechanism in place to deal with being threatened and harassed and that it works the same regardless of what it is for,  They also ignore that such things are not a real problem especially in WA.  They also appear to be basing their case on some alleged instances of harassment of the head of the Protect Marriage Washington campaign during the campaign  in which he claims nothing was done.  To me what this really comes off more as is that the backers of this miserably failed campaign as that is what it it it failed handily, are projecting their own underhanded dirty behaviours towards the gay community and how they interact with it and how they threat it and would treat it if they had that kind of information at hand onto the gay community and its supporters.  What they FEAR is that now that they clearly don't have the power and that they clearly are not in the decision and opinion making majority they fear that they will get treated the same way that they have threatened the gay community for all these years.  They try to hide it behind talk of a fight for "first amendment rights" that where never there in the first place, but it's clear under the surface they funny thing being that they gay community is and has been on the higher road then them and their is no point in sink to make their fears reality when theirs bigger things to get done like full marriage equality.

Now we get to the fact that this case threatens state open government and threatens to open the flood gates on open government policy if it is not ruled in the states favor, which is why Idaho, Florida, Mississippi and South Carolina have filed "friends of the court briefs" in support of the state, and are among the 23 states that are watching the case very closely as depending on how it is ruled it could threaten to topple a lot of states open government laws.  Then there is also at least for washington the worrisome fact that the Indiana lawyer who is working for Protect Marriage Washington on this case is also involved in a case with the state to overturn its $25 political campaign contribution disclosure policy.  So one can see this as a feeler case to see if he can hone in a argument and then use that same one to force the state disclosure level up to the current federal level of $200. 

One can hope though that even with the 5-4 conservative liberal court split things may turn out to the states liking as the conservative judges at lest in resent history seem less and less inclined to create new rights and I don't see the 4 current liberal Judges seeing this as an actual viable right let alone being gun-ho about overturning state open government laws. As it is now there is not right to anonymous speech, voting is the only anonymous activity gantries and that is after the ballot is out of the return envelope (adjust according if not vote by mail) other wise all that the constitution gantries is a right to free speech it makes no guarantee that it will be anonymous or that it will come with out any repercussions just that every citizen has a right to free speech.  I still personal think that the conservative wing or a a nice enough chunk to give a solid majority will basically say that no anonymous free speech dose not exist as constitutional legal right only free speech, your clients exercised their free speech, did not like the out come want to be hidden but its not a right so now its time to release the name's and let the laws and law enforcement deal with any issues should they arise. I sincerely hope that this is how the Supreme court sees it as the threat to open government is at this point far more grave then any political threat that Protect Marriage Washington possess.  I will be keeping my fingers crossed for a good out come and fallowing the news as best I can and keeping you all up to date.

As always thanks for reading and comments and feed back are very much enjoyed and appreciated.

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