Oregon Hiring of State Judges by National Guard and State Universities, Measure 87 (2014)

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Measure 87
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Type:Constitutional amendment
Referred by:Legislature
Topic:State judiciary
Status:Approved Approveda
2014 measures
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November 4
Meausre 86 Defeatedd
Measure 87 Approveda
Measure 88 Defeatedd
Measure 89 Approveda
Measure 90 Defeatedd
Measure 91 Approveda
Measure 92 Defeatedd
Endorsements
PollsExpenditures
Local measures
The Oregon Hiring of State Judges by National Guard and State Universities, Measure 87, was on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Oregon as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment, where it was approved. The measure allows state judges to be employed by the National Guard and state public universities as teachers, and allows school employees to serve in the state legislature.[1]

The measure was primarily sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-4) in the Oregon State Senate, where it was known as Senate Joint Resolution 203. Its approval amended Section 8 of Article XV of the Oregon Constitution.[2]

Election results

Below are the official, certified election results:

Oregon Measure 87
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 817,709 57.68%
No600,01542.32%

Election results via: Oregon Secretary of State

Text of the measure

Ballot title

The ballot title was as follows:[3]

Amends Constitution: Permits employment of state judges by National Guard (military service) and state public universities (teaching)

Result of "Yes" Vote: "Yes" vote amends constitution to permit state judges to be employed by Oregon National Guard for military service purposes, state public universities for teaching purposes.

Result of "No" Vote: "No" vote retains existing constitutional restrictions on employment of Oregon state court judges by the Oregon National Guard and by the state public university system.

Summary:Article III, section 1, of Oregon Constitution ("separation of powers" clause) prohibits person from serving in more than one branch of the government at the same time; Oregon Supreme Court has ruled that provision prohibits state court judges from teaching at institutions of public education. Article II, section 10, prohibits state court judges from being compensated for military service in National Guard. Measure amends constitution to authorize any public university as defined by law to employ state court judges for purpose of teaching at Oregon public universities. Measure also authorizes employment of state court judges by Oregon National Guard for purpose of military service. Measure provides that such educational or military employment shall not preclude person from serving as state judge at same time. Other provisions. [4]

Constitutional changes

Upon approval, the measure amended Section 8 of Article XV of the Oregon Constitution. The amendments read as follows, with the bold text being added and the [italicized and bracketed] text being removed:[1]

Sec. 8 Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1, [article] Article III and section 10, [article] Article II of [the] this Constitution [of the State of Oregon]:

(1) [a] A person employed by [the State Board of Higher Education,] any board or commission established by law to supervise and coordinate the activities of Oregon's institutions of post-secondary education, a person employed by a public university as defined by law or a member or employee of any school board [or employee thereof, shall be] is eligible to [a seat in] serve as a member of the Legislative Assembly, and [such] membership in the legislative Assembly [shall] does not prevent [such] the person from being employed by [the State Board of Higher Education] any board or commission established by law to supervise and coordinate the activities of Oregon's post-secondary institutions of education or by a public university as defined by law, or from being a member or employee of a school board.

(2) A person serving as a judge of any court of this state may be employed by the Oregon National Guard for the purpose of performing military service or may be employed by any public university as defined by law for the purpose of teaching, and the employment does not prevent the person from serving as a judge.

SECTION 8a. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution, if the amendment to section 8 of this Article proposed by Senate Joint Resolution 34 (2013) is approved by the people at the general election held on November 4, 2014, the amendment to section 8 of this Article by Senate Joint Resolution 34 (2013) shall not be effective and the amendment to section 8 of this Article proposed by Senate Joint Resolution 203 (2014) shall be effective in lieu thereof.[4]

Background

At the time of SJR 203's passage, Section 10 of Article II of the Oregon Constitution stated no one holding a lucrative office or a federal or state appointment could be eligible for a seat in the Oregon Legislative Assembly, and also barred any one person from holding more than one lucrative office at the same time with a few exceptions. The exceptions were for officers in the militia, for which there is attached no annual salary, and the Office of Post Master, where the compensation does not exceed $100 per year. Additionally, the separation of powers clause in Section 1 of Article III had been interpreted by the Oregon Supreme Court as prohibiting state judges from teaching at institutions of public education. Section 8 of Article XV further prohibited persons employed by the State Board of Higher Education, a member of any school board or employee thereof from serving in the Legislative Assembly.[5]

2013 SJR 23

In 2013, the Oregon State Legislature referred to voters Senate Joint Resolution 34, which also related to the hiring of state judges by the National Guard and state public universities as teachers, but did not include the provision for school employees to serve in the state legislature. The measure was sponsored by Sen. Floyd Prozanski (D-4) and Rep. Wally Hicks (R-3). SJR 34 was approved by the Oregon Senate on June 25, 2013. SJR 34 was approved by the Oregon House of Representatives on June 28, 2013.[6]

Senate vote

June 25, 2013 Senate vote

Oregon SJR 34 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 30 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

June 28, 2013 House vote

Oregon SJR 34 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 36 61.02%
No2339.98%

If it had gone to the ballot and been approved by voters, it would have amended Section 8 to read as follows:[6]

Sec. 8. (1) Notwithstanding the provisions of section 1 article Article III and section 10 article II of the this Constitution of the State of Oregon, a person employed by the State Board of Higher Education, a member of any school board or employee thereof, shall be is eligible to a seat in the Legislative Assembly and such membership in the Legislative Assembly shall does not prevent such person from being employed by the State Board of Higher Education or from being a member or employee of a school board.

(2) A person serving as a judge of any court of this state may be employed by the Oregon National Guard for the purpose of performing military service or may be employed by the State Board of Higher Education for the purpose of teaching, and the employment does not prevent the person from serving as a judge.[4]

In 2014, the legislature passed SJR 203, which rescinded SJR 34, removing it from the 2014 ballot and providing the current version of the amendment to be voted upon.

Support

Supporters

SJR 203 "Yes" votes

The following members of the Oregon State Legislature voted in favor of placing this measure on the ballot.[7]

Note: A yes vote on SJR 203 merely referred the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators approved of the stipulations laid out in Measure 87.

Senate

House

Arguments

The Oregon League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in favor of Measure 87:[8]

  • Measure 87 will allow judges to contribute their wisdom and experience to the preparation of the next generation of lawyers and judges attending the University of Oregon and to be paid for it.
  • Measure 87 will allow judges to serve in the Oregon National Guard for pay without concern for a constitutional challenge.

[4]

Opposition

Jim Moore, a political science professor at Pacific University, stated that it is unlikely this measure will have an organized opposition. He also considers it unlikely to attract large spending by supporters.[9]

SJR 203 "No" votes

The following members of the Oregon State Legislature voted against placing this measure on the ballot.[7]

Note: A no vote on SJR 203 meant that a legislator did not want to refer the question to voters and did not necessarily mean these legislators disapproved of the stipulations laid out in Measure 87.

Senate

There were no opposing Senate votes.

House

Arguments

The Oregon League of Women Voters listed the following as arguments in opposition to Measure 87:[8]

  • Judges should focus on their courtroom jobs and not be distracted by a teaching job.
  • Judges should not risk being called away from their courtrooms for National Guard duty.

[4]

Media editorial positions

See also: Endorsements of Oregon ballot measures, 2014

Support

  • The Mail Tribune said,
The ban on working for more than one branch of government is reasonable in some cases. It wouldn't be a good idea, for instance, for a state legislator to also work as a judge deciding whether laws the Legislature enacted were constitutional. But there is no good reason why a Supreme Court justice shouldn't be able to give law students at the University of Oregon the benefit of his or her experience by teaching a class or two. As for serving in the National Guard, some judges already do. Measure 87 would simply allow them to be paid for their weekend duty just as any other soldier.[4]

Mail Tribune, [10]

  • The Corvallis Gazette-Times said,
The only practical result of the prohibition on teaching at public institutions is that students at schools like Oregon State University or Linn-Benton Community College can’t get the insights into the judicial system that are frequently available to their counterparts at private institutions – at least, not unless a judge volunteers to teach a class for free, which is unreasonable to expect.

The restriction blocking sitting judges from serving in the National Guard is, if anything, even sillier. Let’s be blunt: No one joins the National Guard to get rich. People join the guard to serve their communities and their nation, and we can’t think of any coherent reason why we’d want to block judges from that service – and to be compensated for that service, just the same as any other citizen soldier.

We do tend to worry that Oregonians tend to be a tad too willing to amend the state constitution – and, in general, voters are wise to take their time when thinking about proposed constitutional amendments. But Ballot Measure 87 represents a worthwhile (and long-overdue) minor revision. [4]

Corvallis Gazette-Times, [11]

  • The Skanner said,

This is little more than a housekeeping measure, brushing cobwebs out of our state Constitution. It would have no financial impact; why shouldn’t state court judges join the National Guard or take a teaching job at a college if they choose? We vote YES.[4]

Skanner, [12]

  • The Oregonian said,
Approval of Measure 87 by voters would amend the constitution to allow limited dual employment by state court judges. Result: All students, whether at private or public universities, would enjoy equal access. Voters should say yes in November...Tinkering with the Oregon Constitution always invites activation of the pause button: Unintended consequence lurks. But not this time. Our state court judges curate deep knowledge of public affairs and judicial practice, and Measure 87 does nothing more than recognize that fact by making them more available to the public they already serve, and fairly so.[4]

Oregonian, [13]

Path to the ballot

See also: Amending the Oregon Constitution

According to Section 1, Article XVIII of the Oregon Constitution a majority vote of both chambers of the Oregon State Legislature was required to place the amendment proposed by the legislature on the statewide ballot.

In 2014, the legislature passed SJR 203, which rescinded SJR 34, removing it from the 2014 ballot and providing the current version of the amendment to be voted upon. It was passed by the Senate on February 21, 2014, and by the House on February 28, 2014.[14]

Senate vote

June 25, 2013 Senate vote

Oregon SJR 203 Senate Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 29 100.00%
No00.00%

House vote

February 28, 2014 House vote

Oregon SJR 203 House Vote
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 51 87.93%
No712.07%

See also

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