The Ritchie ratchet

I’ve written here and here about the proposed amendments to the Minnesota Constitution that are to appear on the ballot in November. Proposed by the (Republican) legislature, (Democratic) Secretary of State Mark Ritchie — the man from SOROS — has given new titles to the amendments through which he seeks to undermine their adoption by the voters.

One of the two proposed amendments would enshrine the definition of marriage as between a man and a woman. The other would require photo identification for voting. Ritchie himself is an avowed opponent of both amendments. At the state Democratic convention this summer, for example, he spoke out vehemently against the photo id. amendment.

The guy is a rank demagogue of the leftover left that has had great success in Minnesota. Ritchie looks like he takes the late German Führer as his forensic model, though he lacks his warmth. Below is the video of Ritchie’s speech on the photo id. amendment at the convention (with a brief introduction by David Lillehaug). You really have to see this to believe it.

The propriety of Ritchie’s actions came before the Minnesota Supreme Court for hearing this past Tuesday. The St. Paul Pioneer Press devoted a surprising and excellent editorial to the case, describing Ritchie’s official conduct as an abusive attempt to suppress the vote.

Our friend Katherine Kersten followed up over the weekend with a Star Tribune op-ed column that explored the long game behind Ritchie’s occupation of the office of Secretary of State. In the conclusion of her column, Kathy harks back to Ritchie’s convention speech:

In a hyperventilating, stem-winder speech about the amendment at the DFL state convention in June, he fumed that “it is an affront to us to put this in front of the public.” He mocked its title “photo ID” as “ridiculous.”

Ritchie went on to compare his opposition to voter ID to the Union Army’s brave stand against the benighted Confederates at the Battle of Gettysburg. There, he said, Minnesota soldiers “saved” the Constitution and defended “liberty and justice for all.” Now, he thundered, Minnesotans have a chance to do it again.

Got that, Minnesotans? The huge majority of you who support voter ID are like slave-holding Confederates who thirst to wipe out “liberty and justice” in our state.

The legal issue before the Court in the case argued this week is whether the legislature or Secretary of State has the ultimate titling authority. The Minnesota Constitution vests the authority to propose constitutional amendments with the legislature; a state stature directs the Secretary of State to provide an appropriate title to proposed amendments. The constitutional provision does not usually come into conflict with the statute. Ritchie has in the past adopted the title to a proposed amendment supplied by the legislature in the proposed amendment. In that matter, however, Ritchie supported the proposed amendment.

Knowing Ritchie’s point of view on the proposed amendments, the legislature exercised its authority to title them itself. The conflict in this case results from the Ritchie ratchet. In Ritchie’s view, the amendment process should only be used to move the state left. It’s almost funny.

The Minnesota Supreme Court has the last word. It will probably be heard from in the case within the next 30 days. I’ve read the briefs and think that the legislature has the better of the argument. Based on the AP and Star Tribune accounts of the oral argument before the Court this week, however, the outcome remains in doubt.


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