Law blogger Robert Thomas (www.inversecondemnation.com) took a listen to the recorded arguments before the Hawaii Supreme Court last week in the case stemming from the ballot confusion during the 2012 General Election, and reported his impressions. His post also includes links to the official recording of the oral arguments available online.
I wrote a brief post about the case several days ago.
The court’s grilling of the attorney representing the State Office of Elections turned into what Thomas called “a judicial feeding frenzy.”
The agency’s arguments may have satisfied the ICA, but as a listen to the recording after the 31:30 mark reveals, they were the like blood in the water at the Supreme Court. The immediate onslaught of questions, incredulity, and downright scorn directed from the bench towards the agency’s counsel was as close to a feeding frenzy as you might witness in the usually decorous air of the state’s high court. No doubt, a very long half-hour-plus for the Election Office’s advocate. It began when Justice Pollack interrupted her opening confessional and promise “to do better in the future” with an obvious question: “Well how are we going to do better? I mean, it looks like to me the same thing could happen again.” She had no answer to that question, either for Justice Pollack or in response to the similar questions the other justices continued to hurl her way.
If you’re at all interested in this election issue, you should check Thomas’ post.
Given the nature and tone of the questioning, Thomas sees little chance the justices will side with the Office of Elections and allow them to proceed with in-house fixes.
More likely, he says, that the court will order the agency to adopt rules to cover such matters.
The unanswered question: “What will the court order the agency to do, and how detailed will it get?”
Attorney Lance Collins, who represents the plaintiffs in the case, contacted me to clarify one point.
“I also wanted to mention that none of the individual voter Plaintiffs are Green Party members,” Collins wrote. “They are either Democrats or independents from all over the state, Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Maui and the Big Island.”
He also shared additional documents from the case, including the opening brief filed in the case before the Intermediate Court of Appeals, along with the state’s answering brief and the plaintiff’s reply brief. Collins says these documents lay out the underlying arguments that are referred to in the pending Supreme Court appeal.
I hope those links work properly. If not, leave a comment and I’ll make necessary fixes.