Nevada Supreme Court Rules that Initiative Proponents are not Proper Defendants, When a Lawsuit is Filed Challenging the Legality of that Initiative

Traditionally, all across the nation, if an initiative is filed and has enough valid signatures, but opponents believe the initiative is invalid, the opponents sue election officials to remove the initiative from the ballot. However, in 2010, when four initiatives were filed in Boulder City, Nevada, the city government sued the proponents of the initiative instead.

On January 24, the Nevada Supreme Court ruled unanimously that Boulder City should not have sued the proponents of the initiatives. The decision is Jensen v City of Boulder City, 57116. The Court said if the city believed the initiatives were invalid, it should have sued the government agency that put the measures on the ballot. The four city initiatives were on these subjects: (1) whether the city council could go into debt above $1,000,000 without getting voter approval; (2) term limits for members of city commission members; (3) whether the city should own more than one golf course; (4) whether the city attorney should be an elected position. The first two of those passed, but the voters rejected the latter two.

The lower court had ruled that it was proper for the city to sue the initiative proponents. The city was not suing the proponents for monetary damages, but the city was putting the burden of defending the legal sufficiency of the initiatives on the proponents. The lawsuit had been pending since 2010, the year the initiatives were on the ballot. Thanks to Paul Jacob for this news.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *