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Friday, September 6, 2013

UPDATE: State Court of Appeals Orders SeaTac Prop 1 Back onto the Ballot

Posted by on Fri, Sep 6, 2013 at 2:48 PM

UPDATE: Minutes after I posted, word came through that the Washington State Court of Appeals has ordered SeaTac Prop 1 back onto the ballot. So that's that.

UPDATE, UPDATE: The decision of the three-judge appellate panel (pdf), reversing the trial court, was unanimous; the full written opinion "will follow in due course." Minutes later, King County Superior Court Judge Kimberly Prochnau declined to order Prop 1 onto the ballot, without comment, but presumably for the procedural reasons I outlined after this morning's hearing. Not that it matters, what with appeals court decision.


Well, that was great theater. Twenty seconds into attorney Dmitri Iglitzin's opening remarks, Washington State Court of Appeals Judge Stephen J. Dwyer cut him off and started peppering him with questions, setting the stage for an entertaining half-hour of appellate attorney ass-whooping. It was a tough start for Iglitzin, the attorney representing the sponsors of SeaTac Prop 1, the "Good Jobs Initiative" that would raise the minimum wage for some airport workers to $15 an hour. But it was nothing compared to the legal assault aimed at the attorneys representing Alaska Airlines/WRA and the City of SeaTac respectively.

"What is up with that goofy ordinance?" Judge Dwyer demanded before SeaTac's attorney could barely open his mouth. The attorney fumbled around in defense of the city's peculiar petition review board before Judge Dwyer tore it a new hole: "So we don't take the auditor's conclusion, we take that of the mayor, sheriff and the city manager?" Judge Dwyer asked rhetorically. "How does that make any sense?"

Combine this skepticism with Judge Dwyer's readings from US Supreme Court Justice John Roberts affirming that the act of affixing one's signature to an initiative is protected by the First Amendment, and you get a clear idea of which way this case is going. That is, assuming there isn't some procedural impediment to the judges ruling on the underlying issue. I'm not an attorney, and the procedural stuff is my weak point. So I can't confidently say. (But I'm guessing not.)

The problem for Harry Korrell, the attorney representing Alaska Airlines and the Washington Restaurant Association, is that, as the judges teased out of him. There is no dispute on the facts either now, or in the proceedings before King County Superior Court Andrea Darvas. And if there is no factual dispute, then the appellate judges are ruling purely on points of law. And the law really isn't on Korrell's side.

For example, when it came to the issue of the 61 signatures Judge Darvas eliminated (the original signatures of registered voters who had signed more than once), Judge Dwyer made the point that there is a difference between regulating—insisting that a registered voter can only be counted once—and quashing the intent of these voters. "What would be the city's legitimate interest in quashing the speech right by eliminating all signatures," Judge Dwyer asked? Well, there isn't any. Judge Darvas simply applied the "plain language" of the statute, Korrell explained, despite the fact that other courts have repeatedly ruled this statute to be unconstitutional.

Anyway, an order, but no written opinion, is expected later this afternoon. Stay tuned.


Comments (11) RSS

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TomJohnsonJr 1
So glad! And thanks for covering this so well and entertainingly.
Posted by TomJohnsonJr on September 6, 2013 at 3:10 PM · Report this
fletc3her 2
Whoo, glad that was settled. Even when it's obvious how the courts should rule based on precedence and common sense they can do the opposite so it's great to see sanity restored on this issue.
Posted by fletc3her on September 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Wow. Ironic, considering Russia has probably the highest per capita rate of alcohol-related "disorders" of any country in the world, it's sort of a backhanded way of saying LGBT's are about as "normal" as a solid majority of Russian citizens.

(I know that's NOT what they're trying to say, but seriously, they probably should have picked a more germane analogy if they wanted to suggest homosexuality is an abnormal behavior.)
Posted by COMTE on September 6, 2013 at 3:13 PM · Report this
Good outcome, thanks for the reporting.
Posted by LMcGuff on September 6, 2013 at 3:18 PM · Report this
Former Lurker 5
@3 Did you know Dan Savage was advocating for the War in Iraq???
Posted by Former Lurker on September 6, 2013 at 3:22 PM · Report this

Yes, AND that he's repeatedly apologized for doing so.

Seriously, do you really have nothing better to do with your sad, pathetic little waste of a life other than hold a grudge against someone you don't even know for something they said - and publicly admitted they shouldn't have said - BOTH over a decade ago?

Posted by COMTE on September 6, 2013 at 3:39 PM · Report this
(And for the record, my comment @3 above was clearly meant for the "Get Us The Hell Out Of Russia" post below).
Posted by COMTE on September 6, 2013 at 3:41 PM · Report this
So is it on the ballot or not?
Posted by LMcGuff on September 6, 2013 at 5:06 PM · Report this
@8 That's what it sounds like and that makes my day. I was ticked off reading Goldy's post yesterday saying that it was too late.

Thanks for the reporting, Goldy!
Posted by floater on September 6, 2013 at 5:39 PM · Report this
I'm still confused. Your update says the Court of Appeals ordered the proposition back onto the ballot, "so that's that." Then your update update says the superior court judge "declined" to order it onto the ballot. So, that's not that?
Posted by philaros on September 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM · Report this
@10: Two cases. One in the State Court of Appeals, one in Superior Court. Notice that the Court of Appeals made a unanimous 3-0 decision, while the Superior Court (singular) judge decided she had no authority.

So ultimately, it is on the ballot.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on September 6, 2013 at 10:59 PM · Report this

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