Lawmakers to take tax ruling to U.S. Supreme Court
September 4, 2004
A group of Republican lawmakers who challenged a court ruling nullifying a two-thirds requirement for the Legislature to raise taxes has decided to take their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Assemblywoman Sharron Angle, R-Reno, said Friday the lawmakers made the decision during a conference call.
The lawmakers had expressed concerns that last year’s opinion by the Nevada Supreme Court could be used in future tax debates to sidestep the two-thirds requirement.
Nevada’s justices had ruled that an “irreconcilable conflict” existed between requirements in the Nevada Constitution to fund education adequately and to abide by the two-thirds requirement. The high court said schools took priority over the number of votes lawmakers needed to increase taxes.
The group of 24 Republican lawmakers had initially decided to drop their case after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in May that their challenge was moot since the Legislature finally passed an $833 million tax plan with a two-thirds’ vote.
But after talking with lawyer John Eastman, Angle said the decision was made to press forward. A petition for a writ of certiorari must be filed by Sept. 20, but a 60-day extension can be granted and may be needed to prepare the request.
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Angle acknowledged the odds of getting the U.S. Supreme Court to take the case are small because of the number of requests the court receives, but she said there is a chance because of the voting rights issue. The group will argue the Nevada Supreme Court decision violates the U.S. Constitution since voters in the state twice-approved the two-thirds requirement.
“The legal issue involving the right of the people to decide their own constitutional structure is a fairly critical one,” Eastman said.
If the court does agree to hear the case, it could be on the calendar early next year, Eastman said.