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Thursday, December 7, 2006

Best State Supreme Court Footnote Ever

posted by on December 7 at 10:55 AM

The Washington State Supreme Court today struck down Tim Eyman’s tax-cutting Initiative 776 as unconstitutional, which means that Sound Transit can continue to collect its famous car-tab taxes. The decision was 8-1 in favor of Sound Transit, with Justice Richard Sanders offering the lone dissent.

And oh, the loneliness of the single man who is convinced that he is right and the rest of the world is wrong. As the sharp-eyed Postman reports, it’s enough to make a guy start quoting The Rolling Stones in his footnotes.

Justice Richard Sanders was the lone dissenter. And he relies on a compelling legal source in a footnote:
In principle, I admire the Lochnerian rigor with which the majority defends the sanctity of contractual obligation. Lochner v. New York, 198 U.S.45, 25 S. Ct. 539, 49 L. Ed. 937 (1905). Unfortunately, its proposed remedy finds no support in the law. In contracts, as in love, “you can’t always get what you want,” but the law of remedies ensures “you get what you need.”8

8 The Rolling Stones, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, on Let It Bleed (ABKCO 1969).

RSS icon Comments


"On the Media" addressed the trend of judges citing pop songs a few months ago. Not surprisingly, Dylan was the favorite.

Posted by Jude Fawley | December 7, 2006 11:29 AM

That's not cool or hip. It's embarrassing and banal.

Posted by Fnarf | December 7, 2006 12:09 PM

Geek alert: now Sound Transit can go back to showing collection of the car-tab tax beyond 2028 in their financial reports.

Posted by Geek | December 7, 2006 12:09 PM

We NEED transit.

Posted by elswinger | December 7, 2006 12:18 PM

Sanders has GOT to stop taking acid.

And, once again, our Constitution rules.

Now, do you think the Mayor will realize that he's getting a Viaduct, like it or not, and there ain't a dang thing he can do about it?

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 7, 2006 12:38 PM

I admire Justice Sanders for making history and standing up for taxpayers' rights and the rights of voters to have their voice heard. In fact Justice Sanders is a great Washingtonian and a great American!

And yes, I listen to The Rolling Stones and I DON'T take acid!!!

"I can't get no sat-is-fact-ion" from the State Supremes!!!

Stephen Johnson for Justice 2008!
John Groen for Justice 2008!

Posted by SVC Alumnus | December 7, 2006 12:43 PM

Wow, SVC, that is nightmare lineup you've got there. You may not take acid because of the Rolling Stones, but you do because of your election choices.

Sanders is a nutjob. Jim Johnson wasn't part of the decision, otherwise it'd be 7-2. However, dissents are where justices can go off on rambling tangents or cite coke-snorting British rock stars as legal precedent.

Posted by him | December 7, 2006 1:28 PM

Sanders is no nutjob on civil liberties - that's why he has support from a lot of ACLU types (and he was kickass on the rape of our State Constitution that occurred when the Mariners Stadium was declared an emergency and was publicly subsidized in violation of the Constitutional prohibition on the lending of public credit for private businesses).

He's not so good on abortion, however...

Posted by Mr. X | December 7, 2006 2:10 PM

... or civil rights, which he really couldn't give a fuck about if you're the wrong color or have the wrong sexual orientation...

Posted by Original Andrew | December 7, 2006 2:21 PM

... or being a decent human being.

Posted by Will in Seattle | December 7, 2006 2:25 PM

...oddly enough, though, the rightwing politicians who oppose gay marriage hate Sanders just about as much - and don't forget that more than one so-called "liberal" jurist was part of the 5-4 ruling against gay marriage.

I'd be curious to hear an example where Sanders had ruled against civil rights on the basis of race, though...

Posted by Mr. X | December 7, 2006 3:10 PM

As pointed out by Justice Sanders in his dissent, until 2028, "Sound Transit expects to collect about $6.3 billion in sales and use tax plus $1.8 billion in MVET." Today's ruling, says Sanders, will "enable Sound Transit to benefit from the collection of $1.8 billion in illegal taxes." That huge $1.8 billion collection of voter-repealed revenue is intended to fulfill a small $350 million bond obligation. So, Sound Transit will collect nearly $1.5 billion dollars more than it needs from a tax the voters explicitly repealed.

The voters will get the opportunity to hold Sound Transit accountable in 2007 -- next year Sound Transit will be asking voters for billions of additional dollars on top of their existing $8.1 billion ($6.7 billion in sales taxes and $1.8 billion in illegal vehicle taxes). Will voters validate and reward Sound Transit and give more money for more of the same? That's up to them. But we're hopeful they'll consider Sound Transit's bulging multi-billion dollar bank account before they give them more.
We also hope that voters will take a good, long look at State Auditor Brian Sonntag's upcoming performance audit of Sound Transit which compares their current results with their 1996 promises. His audit will be released by the summer of 2007.

In 1998, vehicle owners were paying motor vehicle taxes of 2.5% of vehicle value (2.2% state MVET and 0.3% Sound Transit MVET) plus a $15 vehicle fee.

As a result of the voters and the Legislature, in 36 of 39 counties, citizens now have $30 vehicle tabs plus recently imposed vehicle weight fees -- usually $10 or $20 (no 2.2% MVET or $15 vehicle fee).

In the Puget Sound (most areas of Snohomish, Pierce and King counties), citizens now have $30 vehicle tabs plus Sound Transit's 0.3% MVET and recently imposed vehicle weight fees -- usually $10 or $20 (no 2.2% MVET or $15 vehicle fee).

Give us points for persistence.

Regards, Tim Eyman, co-sponsor of 2007's Taxpayer Protection Initiative

P.S. Response to Geek alert post by Geek: Sound Transit's 0.3% car-tab tax will no longer be collected when the bonds expire in 2028. No 0.3% car-tab tax after 2028.

Posted by Tim Eyman | December 7, 2006 3:28 PM

wah! I have to pay for the privelege to use the road? waaah! Life is SO unfair!

The roads are at capacity and my registration $ go towards getting some ppl off the road? waah! Life is SO unfair!

I have to pay more than 30$ for my $30,000+ luxury truck? waah! Life is SO unfair!

Hey DUMBFUCK! Those millions they've got in their coffers? The construction will eat that right up!

Posted by K X One | December 7, 2006 4:42 PM

"Give us points for persistence."

Fuck you asshole!

here's one for starters?

Gutting the funding for the ferries? What fucking good did that do?

I hope someday I meet you face to face. I'm sure you never leave your gated community on the Eastside though, so that's not too likely to happen.

Are you just a total fucking idiot or do you work for someone that is benefitting from your ridiculous proposals.

Pesistance? Give it up dumbfuck! When was the last time you won? Everyones on to your brand of idiocy and the Supreme Court is finally overturning your idiocy. Go back to sticking your head up your ass!

Posted by K X | December 7, 2006 4:47 PM

When I was 15, my then-boyfriend quoted this fucking lyric to explain why he was breaking up with me. Even though it was my first boyfriend (and breakup, obviously), and I was in shock, I knew then that it was crap to quote a song lyric like this. Good God, Justice Sanders, you are as witty as my now-deceased 18-year-old manic-depressive speed-freak ex.

Posted by Nerple | December 7, 2006 5:01 PM

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