Saturday, October 15, 2005

Court Rules Oregon Measure 37 Unconstitutional

For those of you who are interested in the "Pombo clause" (a bastardized version of the just compensation clause -- my apologies to anyone born out of wedlock), Oregon's Measure 37 has been ruled unconstitutional. Measure 37 opinion

1000 Friends of Oregon's analysis:
Yesterday Judge Mary James of the Marion Circuit Court ruled that Measure 37, adopted by voters in the election, is unconstitutional in  MacPherson v. Department of Administrative Services. Judge James concluded that the law is unconstitutional because it grants special privileges and immunities, impairs the legislative body’s plenary power, suspends laws, and violates the separation of powers. In addition, Judge James ruled that the law violates substantive and procedural due process guaranteed by the United States Constitution.

The litigation was brought by 1000 Friends of Oregon, Senator Hector MacPherson (who was an original sponsor of SB100 in 1973) and other landowners and farmers. The State of Oregon defended the measure, as it is now state law. The plaintiffs had argued that Measure 37 was unconstitutional because the measure: (1) curtails the state’s ability to protect the health and welfare of Oregonians, (2) grants privileges to a select class of landowners and (3) violates separation of powers by giving the legislature the authority to enforce the law, a power that is restricted to the executive branch of government.

“We are very pleased that the court recognized Measure 37 is not about fairness: it is unfair at its core. We expect local governments and the state to heed this ruling and not enforce the law,” said Bob Stacey, Executive Director of 1000 Friends of Oregon. “We fully expected this case will go to the Supreme Court, so the fastest resolution of these issues is swift legislative action. Therefore, today we are calling on the Governor and legislative leaders to convene a special session and pass legislation that deals fairly with people who have borne an unfair burden—but not at the expense of their neighbors. We need compensation that makes landowners whole, not waivers that make them rich.”

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