In Montana, the state’s highest court has asserted an absolute veto over what the people may add to their own constitution.
One of the few ways the people can check an overreaching judiciary is by passing constitutional amendments. At the federal level, the people reversed U.S. Supreme Court decisions through the 11th, 14th, and 26th amendments.
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At the state level, the people sometimes use the citizen initiative process to curb activist judges. The citizen initiative process allows anyone to circulate a petition to put a proposal on the ballot so the people can vote on it. This prevents judicial oligarchy. It’s also a “safety valve” for popular discontent.
So alarm bells should go off when a state supreme court hijacks the amendment process itself.
To some extent, this has happened in several states—including, for example, Oregon and Pennsylvania. But nowhere has it gone as far as in Montana, where the state’s highest court has asserted an absolute veto over what the people may add to their own constitution.
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