“Proponents’ Standing to Defend Their Ballot Initiatives: A Post-Hollingsworth Work-Arounds?”

John Caragozian and Nat Stern have posted this article on SSRN (Northeastern University Law Review). Here is the abstract:

Voter-enacted ballot initiatives have proved an effective means by which citizens can change state law in the absence of legislative willingness to enact the desired policy. Like other laws, however, successful initiatives are susceptible to legal challenges in the courts. In Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Supreme Court held that ballot initiative proponents lack standing to defend their initiatives. Fearing that their initiatives might be undefended (if state officials refuse to defend), proponents and scholars are now proposing to embed language in initiatives to give proponents personal standing to defend their initiatives. For example, one pending initiative would assess a $10,000 penalty on the proponent if the initiative is invalidated, thereby giving him a personal stake in the initiative’s validity. The Article concludes that Hollingsworth’s obstacles to standing, along with the Court’s broader restrictive standing philosophy, cast substantial doubt on these new proposals.


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