League of Education Voters v. Washington State
On February 28, 2013, the Washington Supreme Court issued its ruling on League of Educ. Voters v. State and, in doing so, declared legislation requiring a supermajority vote for tax legislation unconstitutional. The challenge was initially filed against Initiative 1053, but is part of a larger issue concerning similar initiatives beginning in 1993 with Initiative 601.
The court found such supermajority requirements to be in violation of Washington Constitution, Article II, Section 22, which states that no bill shall become law unless a majority of each chamber votes in favor of it. The court's ruling concludes with,
|“||Our holding today is not a judgment on the wisdom of requiring a supermajority for the passage of tax legislation. Such judgment is left to the legislative branch of our government. Should the people and the legislature still wish to require a supermajority vote for tax legislation, they must do so through constitutional amendment, not through legislation.||”|
The state's high court ruled 6-3. The majority included Chief Justice Barbara Madsen and Justices Tom Chambers, Mary Fairhurst, Charles Wiggins and Stephen Gonzalez. They noted that "the founders worried about a 'tyranny of the minority' blocking the wishes of the majority." Dissenters included Justices Charles Johnson and James Johnson. They critiqued the majority for getting involved in the "political arena in 'unwise and unprecedented' fashion, misreading the constitution and overriding case law and the clear wishes of the electorate."
- Washington Two-Thirds Vote Required to Raise Taxes, Initiative 1185 (2012)
- Washington Supermajority Vote Required in State Legislature to Raise Taxes, Initiative 1053 (2010)
- Washington Tax & Spending Limits, Initiative 601 (1993)
- Washington Secretary of State: From our corner,"High court overturns supermajority for taxes," March 1, 2013
- Washington State Wire,"As State Bounces Popular Two-Thirds Rule, Everyone Has Something to Say," March 1, 2013
- Associated Press,"State Supreme Court strikes down two-thirds vote for tax hikes," February 28, 2013