10th Circuit reverses TABOR ruling, says lawsuit can challenge Colorado law’s constitutionality
Federal judge previously had found lawsuit’s plaintiffs lacked standing to sue
PUBLISHED: July 22, 2019 at 3:18 pm | UPDATED: July 22, 2019 at 5:43 pm
A sidelined legal challenge to the constitutionality of Colorado’s Taxpayer Bill of Rights is back on again, following a decision by a federal appeals court Monday that found some plaintiffs in the case have a right to sue.
“We have been dealing for eight years with threshold procedural issues,” said David Skaggs, an attorney for the plaintiffs. “Now I hope we will be heading back to district court to finally get to the merits.”
The 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals’ decision reverses a 2017 ruling by a federal judge in Denver who said the plaintiffs lacked what’s called standing — meaning they could show they would be subject to actual or threatened damages — and therefore couldn’t sue.
The lawsuit itself dates to 2011 when Sen. Andy Kerr and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst challenged TABOR in federal court.
They argued that giving the final say on all tax increases to voters — as TABOR mandated after its approval by Colorado voters in 1992 — violated the Guarantee Clause of the U.S. Constitution, which is a line in Article IV, Section 4 that promised every state a republican form of government. TABOR, they argued, transformed the state into a direct democracy.