Protests by state and congressional officials are nothing new. But one in Oregon just blocked ten pro-life members of the state’s Senate from seeking reelection.
According to KATU, nine Republicans and one independent refused to take their seats in the state’s legislative house as part of a 42-day protest against a bill that would support gender transitions in regard to healthcare and abortion.
It’s a move that state legislatures have seen quite a bit over the years. For example, two years ago, in Texas, a group of democrats did the same thing to deny Republicans a quorum to pass election legislation, CBS noted.
But the story in Oregon is resulting in something the Texas situation did not.
You see, beyond making Texas Republicans a bit upset about their protest, there were no real consequences. But thanks to Measure 113, Oregon senators will have to pay a price.
Measure 113, which was passed in Oregon in 2022, states that “any state legislator who accrues ten or more unexcused absences during a legislative session shall be disqualified from holding legislative office” immediately following the current term.
Naturally, following the protest, liberal Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade called the measure into play, demanding that these ten senators would no longer be allowed to run for office after their current terms are over. Just as naturally, the affected senators sued.
And so the matter has been taken to the state’s Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court has ruled in favor of the Secretary of State and Democrats, banning all ten from being on the 2024 ballot.
Now, to be clear, not all ten are actually affected so grossly by the ruling.
According to the Oregon Capital Chronicle, two senators have already announced their retirement following their current term. Another four were elected to office in 2022, and since they have four-year terms, they won’t be running for election until 2026.
So, only four are really affected by the Supreme Court’s decision.
Still, as you can imagine, the whole thing has erupted into quite a controversy.
One major reason is that, as Republican state Senator Suzanne Weber (one of those who will serve until 2026) says, the ruling seems to be purely partisan-motivated.
Weber points out that every single member of the Oregon Supreme Court was appointed by a Democrat, leading them to usually lean in that direction. In fact, all those who ruled on this case were appointed by former Democratic governor Kate Brown. The only justice who didn’t join the ruling, Aruna Masih, was still appointed by a Democrat, Governor Tina Kotek.
As Weber says, she’s “disappointed” in the ruling but not at all “surprised that a court of judges appointed solely by Gov. Brown and Gov. Kotek would rule in favor of political rhetoric rather than their own precedent. The only winners in this case are Democrat politicians and their union backers.”
The other controversy surrounds the actual wording, or lack thereof, in Measure 113.
As I stated above, the implication is that legislators in violation of the measure are prohibited from running for reelection following their violation. The question is whether that means for the term immediately following the breach (as in 2024), or the term after that.
Even the Supreme Court ruling admitted that the issue is not clearly derived.
As I mentioned, the Secretary of State believes the measure to mean the most immediate upcoming term. The petitioners, or legislators affected, take it to mean the “term following the election (that occurs) after the member’s current term is completed,” according to the ruling.
However, the Supreme Court has since ruled that they believe the people would support the Secretary’s interpretation of the measure, meaning that it will be enforced in the next session following the absences “rather than the term after that.”
We’d like to know what you think. Should the measure be enforced at all? And if so, when?