January 6, 2018

In another ruling by another judge, this time in Carson City, has blocked efforts to stop the sanctuary city movement in Nevada. On Friday, Nevada District Court Judge James T. Russell sided with the ACLU when he issued an order halting efforts to put anti-sanctuary city constitutional amendment on the ballot banning the policy here in Nevada.

Judge Russell agreed with the ACLU’s claims that the ballot initiative was “overly broad and confusing.” “In one part you’re saying ‘prevent sanctuary cities,’ in another part you’re saying ‘enforce federal immigration laws of the United States,’” Russell told attorneys for Prevent Sanctuary Cities, the political action committee who wrote the ballot measure. “Again, I think it’s just excessively broad and the caption is misleading with respect to the body of the language of the initiative.”

The ACLU declared “Victory” on their twitter page.

Nevada State Senator Michael Roberson, a candidate for Lt. Governor, is leading the effort to put the ballot measure before the voters this November. Roberson issued the following statement in response to the Judge’s ruling:

“We are clearly disappointed with the ruling and believe it was wrong. In 2017, Nevada Democrats proposed the most reckless legislation in Nevada history which would have turned Nevada into a Sanctuary State. Nevada voters have a right to prevent this from happening. California has now become a Sanctuary State and if politicians like Jacky Rosen, Chris Giunchigliani, Kate Marshall, and Aaron Ford have their say, Nevada will be next. Rest assured, I have not yet begun to fight and I look forward to presenting our case at the Nevada Supreme Court.” 

Roberson’s group, Prevent Sanctuary Cities PAC, first needs to gather 112,000 signatures before the ballot measure must win support from voters in both 2018 and again in 2020 for it to be added to the Nevada Constitution. It’s now blocked permanently, meaning the people of the State of Nevada won’t have their chance to vote for the law unless the State Supreme Court overrules the District Court Judge.

“Black Robe Disease”

Opinion: Judges have no right to strike down an initiative to change the state Constitution, regardless if they think the language is overly broad. Constitutional changes are solely the right of the people, not the judiciary. The people have the right to insert any language they choose, period!

It’s ironic that these same judges found overly broad language last year they interpreted to mean they could not be recalled by voters. BTW no such language actually existed in the law saying judges could not be recalled. Our judges have become politicians in black robes, ignoring the rule of law in favor of liberal policies. And now they have ruled themselves above the law and out of reach by the voters.

Judges have the power to interpret the constitution not control the language the people desire to insert into the constitution. Imagine if a judge struck down the language Congress wrote for the 13th amendment before it became law:

  1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.
  2. Congress shall have the power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation. 

The language of the 13th amendment is extremely broad and Congress meant for it to be broad.

Sen. Roberson’s group meant for the constitutional language to be as broad as possible to limit liberals from creatively writing laws to get around the ballot measure. Nevada liberals have been saying for the last year that Nevada and its cities are not sanctuaries. But there really is no actual legal description as defined by Congress yet. So Congress, not Nevada judges, are the controlling authority with the sole power to define what a sanctuary city is. The ballot measure must remain broad to allow for Congress to act.

Defining a ballot measure, especially a constitutional amendment, as overly broad is arbitrary and capricious and opens the door for any ballot measure to be struck down by liberal judges who don’t like the law’s policy objectives.

Laws take away freedoms every day. Gun laws restrict our rights. Cell phone bans while you drive take away freedoms. And yes Roberson’s law is meant to take away the freedom of lawmakers to declare their jurisdictions sanctuary cities as lawmakers have done in California.

Rob Lauer

Political Reporter


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