Hysterical Opposition to SQ 777 Even in the
So Called Conservative Groups?
I haven't needed to smack OCPAC in quite a while. The new guy acting as the public face of the group is generally as exciting as watching paint dry but harmless enough. But last week OCPAC came out against SQ777 and must have gotten some feedback because they were back this week with a defense of their position and one that was unusually incoherrant.
I pulled the relevant parts out of their newsletter for discussion. They listed three main points:
"But wait. Here is problem number one. Who is going to decide what constitutes a "compelling state interest?" The answer is the courts. We have added a speed bump, but it is on a road over in a different branch of state government. That branch of government is notoriously liberal. What happens when the Oklahoma Supreme Court interprets "compelling state interest" in a progressive way that allows the Legislature to pass all kinds of onerous regulations? By amending the state constitution and allowing the court to define the terms, we are now stuck with a high level of codified tyranny that is hard to correct. It is not easy to amend a state constitution."
The legal term "compelling state interest" is actually well defined by numerous SCOTUS decisions Basically it means something that is crucial to the safety of the state, not something that would be nice to have. The state supreme court has made miss steps in the past, allowing bond issues is a good example, but they are also bound by SCOTUS rulings as well as other federal rulings so OCPAC will sometimes lash out when the Constitution of Oklahoma and the United States doesn't support one of their agendas. The farm groups pushed SQ 777 and one would think they wouldn't slit their own throats.
"Problem number two is related to problem number one. Remember, SQ 777 also says that any regulations existing prior to 2015 shall not be affected by the amendment. This provision could be interpreted by the Oklahoma Supreme Court to mean that existing regulations are constitutionally protected. In this case we will have lost our ability to remove unjust laws enacted before 2015."
Actually it doesn't… prior legislation is unaffected by the new hurdle of a compelling state interest. Courts must consider legislative intent and it is clear that this legislation exempted earlier laws and thus under the control of the legislature.
"This brings us to problem number three: accountability. If the Legislature violates our property rights through law, we can unseat the responsible parties and change the law. However, when judges violate our rights, they never get unseated. Without competitive elections in the judiciary, the people have little to no oversight. We will be stuck with their secular humanist interpretations for generations since the Legislature, the Governor, and the people have been conditioned to bow down in worship to judges. Any so-called speed bump in the judiciary might become a high-speed autobahn to tyranny."
Actually we have judicial retention elections on every major General Election. We started that after enormous scandals erupted with justices accepting huge bribes and going to prison for it. These same farm groups have plenty of clout to manage new appointees and form a retention ballot effort if needed.
It is a strange world when you see the likes of OCPAC line up behind liberal former Attorney General Drew Edmondson and radical animal rights groups like the Humane Society and radical environmental groups like the Sierra Club. Those folks don't lose their way, they stick to their agenda, so anyone with any sense ought to see that OCPAC has lost their mind on this issue.