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.
Near the conclusion of the friendly, 40-minute meeting between the Archuleta Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) and Colorado Treasurer Walker Stapleton last Tuesday morning, we heard a brief summary, from Mr. Stapleton about the state’s new “Pay for Success” legislation — a new law meant to entice private companies to get involved with public education and child care, by subsidizing those companies with taxpayer revenues. Then the BOCC thanked Mr. Stapleton for his visit, and he assured them that his Denver office could help with the County’s courthouse issues.
“I’m happy to be here,” said Mr. Stapleton. “I’ll pass out my business cards, and you can follow up with me on the Courthouse, and I can put you into a point of contact.” Everyone shook hands.
The next item on the morning work session agenda was the draft Community Development Action Plan, better known as the CDAP. This document, which will be approved by the BOCC later this year, typically lists every possible “development” project that might, at some point, try and lay its hands on federal government grants or loans. As you can see from the 12-page draft document (which you can download here,) our community has a number of ongoing or future projects that the federal government — along with numerous other government agencies, and various non-profit and for-profit companies — might wish to support financially: a “geothermal greenhouse” project in Centennial Park, expansion of the Pagosa Springs Medical Center, a new taxiway at the County airport, a proposed charter school… and two dozen other development proposals.