MACo v. State

11/01/2017 OP 17-0358 Case Number: OP 17-0358 IN THE SUPREME COURT OF THE STATE OF MONTANA 2017 MT 267 MONTANA ASSOCIATION OF COUNTIES (“MACo”), LEO GALLAGHER, ADRIAN M. MILLER, MONTANA ASSOCIATION OF CRIMINAL DEFENSE LAWYERS, and ACLU OF MONTANA FOUNDATION, INC., Petitioners, v. THE STATE OF MONTANA, by and through TIMOTHY C. FOX, in his official capacity as Attorney General, and COREY STAPLETON, in his official capacity as Secretary of State, Respondents. ORIGINAL PROCEEDING: Constitutional Initiative 116 COUNSEL OF RECORD: For Petitioners: Kyle Anne Gray, Brianne C. McClafferty, Holland & Hart LLP, Billings, Montana James P. Molloy, Gallik, Bremer & Molloy, P.C., Bozeman, Montana (Attorneys for MACo) Alex Rate, Legal Director, ACLU of Montana Foundation Inc., Missoula, Montana (Attorney for ACLU of Montana Foundation, Inc.) For Respondents: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Dale Schowengerdt, Solicitor General, Rob Cameron, Deputy Attorney General, Helena, Montana For Amici: Maxon R. Davis, Tyler C. Smith, Davis, Hatley, Haffeman & Tighe, P.C., Great Falls, Montana Kathleen M. Sullivan (Pro Hac Vice), Christine H. Chung (Pro Hac Vice), Quinn, Emanuel, Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP, New York, New York (Attorneys for Marsy’s Law for Montana, LLC) Martha Sheehy, Sheehy Law Firm, Billings, Montana (Attorney for “The Montana Newspapers”) William V. Ballew, Spoon Gordon Ballew PC, Missoula, Montana (Attorney for National Crime Victim Law Institute) Lawrence A. Anderson, Attorney at Law, P.C., Great Falls, Montana James H. Goetz, Goetz, Baldwin & Geddes P.C., Bozeman, Montana (Attorneys for Constitutional Convention Delegates, Retired Montana Supreme Court Justices and Law Professors) Decided: November 1, 2017 Filed: __________________________________________ Clerk 2 OPINION AND ORDER Justice Laurie McKinnon delivered the Opinion and Order of the Court. ¶1 Petitioners challenge the constitutionality of Constitutional Initiative 116 (CI-116), commonly known as Marsy’s Law, in an original petition for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief. The merits of CI-116 and the policy choices behind it are not at issue in this case. The only question before this Court is whether the procedure by which CI-116 was submitted to voters conformed to Montana’s constitutional requirements. ¶2 This Court has original jurisdiction over declaratory judgment actions “when urgency or emergency factors exist making litigation in the trial courts and the normal appeal process inadequate and when the case involves purely legal questions of statutory or constitutional interpretation which are of state-wide importance.” M. R. App. P. 14(4). See also Mont. Const. art. VII, § 2(1)-(2); §§ 3-2-201 and -202(1), MCA. In this case, normal litigation and appeal processes are inadequate because implementation of CI-116 is imminent. Furthermore, the question of whether CI-116 violates the Montana Constitution involves purely legal questions of constitutional interpretation because analysis of Montana Constitution, Article XIV, Section 11’s separate-vote requirement focuses on the manner in which a constitutional amendment is submitted to the voters at an election. What is in issue and what this Court must adjudge is not directed by a factual record or inquiry, but rather is directed to the legality of the enactment or adoption process itself. Indeed, it is precisely because ...

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