Michael Riley, Denver Post, June 13, 2006
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled Monday that a proposed initiative to eliminate state services to illegal immigrants won’t be on the November ballot, dealing a major setback to a three — year effort to get the proposal before voters.
Ruling on what supporters called “a technicality,” the decision was nonetheless critical, suggesting the measure’s effects were so broad that it could prevent illegal immigrants from taking title to property they paid for or having access to civil courts.
The decision incensed illegal-immigration opponents, who directed their anger at the court but then vowed to immediately ask the body to reconsider its decision, the only option left to get the measure before voters before 2008.
“This is outrageous judicial activism… . It’s raw, naked politics,” said Dick Lamm, the former Democratic governor who is among the leaders of Defend Colorado Now, the group backing the proposal.
The decision’s impact is likely to stretch beyond Colorado, analysts say, as activists in several states push similar initiatives as a way to pressure federal lawmakers to take tough action against the country’s estimated 12 million illegal immigrants.
“This action in Colorado will have ripple effects well beyond the state’s borders,” Henderson said. “Arizona was a shot across the bow, but Colorado was seen as more important in some ways, partly because this was the first effort after Arizona to see where this thing was going to go, and partly because it is the home of Dick Lamm and Tom Tancredo.”
On Monday, Tancredo, the Littleton Republican who is one of the most vocal congressional critics of current immigration policy, called the court’s decision an “arrogant usurpation of citizens’ constitutional prerogatives.”
Other supporters were equally incensed.
“I’m angry beyond words,” said state Rep. David Schultheis, a Republican who sponsored a slew of immigration bills in the 2006 legislative session.
“The courts are wielding power they shouldn’t be wielding,” he said.
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(Posted on June 13, 2006)
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