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Ruling in Morse recall protest delayed until July 3 (CO)
Gazette ^ | June 27, 2013 | 3:35 pm | Megan Schrader

Posted on 06/27/2013 3:10:47 PM PDT by Red Steel

A partisan effort to thwart the recall of Sen. John Morse shifted into gear Thursday as attorney Mark Grueskin on asked the deputy secretary of state to concede that the state agency has given poor advice to recall petitioners for at least the last decade.

"I know we are putting you in a tough position," Grueskin said. "The right of recall is fundamental and it needs to be liberally construed but that doesn't mean we have to go crazy."

Grueskin argued at length that the petitioners omitted a legally required phrase in the petition explaining to voters that Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, would be replaced if recalled by a successor elected by the people.

Richard Westfall, an attorney representing the recall backers, the El Paso Freedom Defense Fund, said the secretary of state's office has not required that language on recall petitions for the past 10 years because it isn't necessary.

He accused Grueskin of being a master of finding ambiguity and interpretations in the law that really don't exist.

"This entire fallacy was based upon that there was a mistake," Westfall said. "There was no mistake."

Morse is one of four Democratic legislators targeted for recall this summer because of their support of new gun laws, some of which take effect Monday.

Enough signatures were turned in to place recalls for Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, on the ballot. Both recalls have been challenged with the same argument.

The hearing, in Denver, lasted several hours with Grueskin questioning two employees of Secretary of State Scott Gessler who were responsible for approving the petition.

Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, testified that a poll of Senate District 11 - conducted at the bequest of Grueskin - showed that 46 percent of voters in the district knew how Morse would be replaced if recalled. The majority of voters polled selected other possibilities, including a gubernatorial appointment or a committee that would fill the vacant post.

Westfall said the poll was irrelevant, because there's no way to know how many of the 380 people polled actually signed the petition.

"The people who signed probably had a lot more knowledge about the process," Westfall said.

Deputy Secretary of State Suzanne Staiert, who presided over the hearing, has until Wednesday to make a decision.

If Staiert rules in favor of Grueskin and the constituent from Senate District 11 that brought the protest, all 10,137 signatures deemed valid to put Morse on a ballot in coming months would be invalidated. It would also be an admission that the secretary of state's office has interpreted the law incorrectly for at least 10 years and provided recall petition gatherers with inaccurate templates to follow when drafting their petitions.

If she rules in favor of Westfall, Morse will likely face a recall election asking voters if he should be ousted from office and if so who should replace him.

The two sides can appeal Staiert's decision to district court, and are expected to draw the process out for weeks, at least.

The recall opponents asked the deputy secretary of state to extend the Wednesday deadline, but that was quickly rejected.

The Morse lawyers also hinted that more protests may be filed before July 3, which marks the 15-day deadline to bring a case against the recall.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; US: Colorado
KEYWORDS: banglist; guncontrol; johnmorse; secondamendment
"Grueskin points to a case, Combs v. Nowak, in which an appellate court threw out signatures trying to recall two Central City alderman because the committee failed to include a demand for “an election of the successor to the officer named in said petition,” as required by Article 21, Section 1 of the Colorado constitution.
“The Constitution is really clear: you’ve got to ask for a recall and tell people that there’s going to be an election,” Grueskin told FOX31 Denver after the hearing. “Basically, what petition signers got was half a loaf. And that’s not a constitutional half a loaf.” "

And

Grueskin argued at length that the petitioners omitted a legally required phrase in the petition explaining to voters that Morse, a Colorado Springs Democrat, would be replaced if recalled by a successor elected by the people.
Richard Westfall, an attorney representing the recall backers, the El Paso Freedom Defense Fund, said the secretary of state's office has not required that language on recall petitions for the past 10 years because it isn't necessary.

He accused Grueskin of being a master of finding ambiguity and interpretations in the law that really don't exist.

"This entire fallacy was based upon that there was a mistake," Westfall said. "There was no mistake."

"The Petition:

General statement of grounds for recall:

Senator John Morse (D- Colorado Springs) has failed to represent the interests of his constituents and has taken direction from national organizations that do not represent the values and liberties of Colorado citizens. Despite having sworn to support and uphold the Constitution of the United States and of Colorado, he has shown contempt for the constitutional liberties of the people he represents.

He proposed legislation that shifted liability to firearms manufacturers and gun owners from violent criminals where it rightfully belonged. His legislation was drafted with significant input from the Brady Campaign, which attempts to subvert the Second Amendment rights of citizens. He has limited public debate in the Senate and thereby minimized the opinions of Colorado citizens but permitted celebrities from other states to express their opinions on Colorado bills. These actions have shown contempt for firearm manufacturers and for the rights of Colorado citizens. Additionally, it was clearly an abuse of the coercive powers of government. Senator Morse’s abuse of his office and his failure to respect the rights and interests of his constituents necessitates his recall from office as the only reasonable and available means to defend the inalienable liberties of the citizens of his district."

- - - - - - - - -

It looks to me the petition's wording is sufficiently clear about what would happen if enough signatures were gathered.

1 posted on 06/27/2013 3:10:47 PM PDT by Red Steel
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To: Red Steel
The two sides can appeal Staiert's decision to district court, and are expected to draw the process out for weeks, at least.

If lying, cheating, and stealing don't work, you can always count on representatives of the Democratic [sic] party to stall.

2 posted on 06/27/2013 4:34:28 PM PDT by Standing Wolf
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To: Standing Wolf

I always expect it from those clowns. BTW, Sen. Angela Giron’s hearing is scheduled for July 3rd. I read that she is going to make the same “argument” as her partner in crime Morse.


3 posted on 06/27/2013 4:47:45 PM PDT by Red Steel
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To: Red Steel
I read that she is going to make the same “argument” as her partner in crime Morse.

How creative of her lawyers!

4 posted on 06/27/2013 5:59:54 PM PDT by Standing Wolf
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