Colorado court watchers are waiting with baited breath for the nation’s highest court to say whether it will consider a case challenging the Taxpayer Bill of Rights.
The U.S. Supreme Court isn’t considering the merits of a 2011 lawsuit, brought by a group of current and former elected officials, including state Sen. Andy Kerr, D-Lakewood, and House Speaker Dickey Lee Hullinghorst, D-Boulder. Instead, the court is expected to announce whether justices are granting certiorari and will hear the case or whether they’re sending it back to a lower court.
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in May 2011. Attorneys for the State of Colorado filed a motion to dismiss at that time, claiming the plaintiffs lack standing to file the lawsuit and arguing that the case itself is a political question, which federal courts typically avoid.
The District Court denied the motion and the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals then denied a request by the state for a rehearing, leaving the Supreme Court to decide.
“We’re not yet at the point where (the Supreme Court) could be asked the merits of the case,” said David Skaggs, an attorney for the group that filed the suit.
The court considered the Petition for Writ of Certiorari in conference on Jan. 9 but has not yet issued a decision on it, a delay Skaggs called unusual.
Typically, when the court considers what’s commonly known as a Cert Petition in conference, it announces whether the petition has been granted or denied within a week or two.
“I think it means they’re taking [the issues] seriously,” said David Kopel, an attorney with the Independence Institute, who wrote an amicus brief supporting the state’s arguments in the case.
If the court grants certiorari, then the case will be set for oral arguments during next year’s session, which begins on Oct. 5. If certiorari is denied, the case will return to U.S. District Court in Denver for a hearing on the merits of the lawsuit.