State asks full 10th Circuit Court of Appeals to hear TABOR challenge
Sept. 4, 2019 (DENVER, Colo.)—Attorney General Phil Weiser today filed a petition with the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals asking the full court to reconsider Kerr v. Polis. In 2011, several state legislators and others sued in federal court to invalidate Article X, § 20 of the Colorado Constitution, known as the Taxpayer Bill of Rights (TABOR). In July, two judges on the 10th Circuit reversed a federal district court decision and ruled that the local government plaintiffs had standing in the case and could bring suit in federal court. Another judge dissented, agreeing with the district court. Weiser released the following statement:
“Until this ruling, the Courts have consistently ruled that federal courts are not the proper place for school boards, special districts and county commissions to resolve disagreements with their parent state over state policy. Under controlling law, political subdivisions do not have standing to use federal courts to challenge state policies—regardless of the merits of their complaints about the policy—unless there is a specific federal law that gives them rights to do so.
“The political subdivisions in Kerr v. Polis do not have standing under the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution. The guarantee to a republican form of government is directed to the people of Colorado, not to local boards of education and county commissions.
“The political subdivision plaintiffs in Kerr v. Polis are not authorized to challenge TABOR in federal court. Their concerns about the law are better addressed at the ballot box, not the federal courtroom.
“The July opinion from the 10th Circuit conflicts with controlling law, past 10th Circuit decisions, and recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions. A rehearing of the full court is necessary to secure and maintain uniformity of the Court’s decisions.”
Lawrence Pacheco, Director of Communications
(720) 508-6553 office | (720) 245-4689 cell