The Painful Constitutional Referenda Process




The last week has been excruciating in our state. We now have five referenda on the ballot, some approved by Justices who clearly personally oppose at least some of the Amendments. However, voting to put a referenda Amendment on the ballot is a constitutional prerogative that is left to the citizens of our state.

For years, our Justices, without regard to whether they had been nominated by the Democratic or Republican conventions, have stated that there is a clear preference to find statutes constitutional where possible. This is because our republican form of government is one in which we vote for individuals to represent our geographical district in a legislative body. This form of government is what we have always accepted under our constitutional mandate.

At the same time, if individuals are dissatisfied with how their elected officials act, there is a referenda process available to the citizens of the State of Michigan.

This is not to say that this writer supports or opposes Amendments, although clearly anyone who has read the blogs knows where this writer stands on the Bridge Amendment. However, one thing is a certainty; that our courts understand that the democratic process requires a procedure whereby people have a right and privilege to directly determine issues in contravention of a legislative and executive decision making process.