WASHINGTON (July 30, 2012) — Liberty Counsel on Monday filed a petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review the Oklahoma Supreme Court’s decision removing a proposed Personhood citizen-initiative from the ballot.
Earlier this year, Personhood Oklahoma, a pro-life citizens group, filed an initiative to amend the Oklahoma Constitution to define “person” as “any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death.” Personhood Oklahoma had satisfied all procedural requirements and was beginning to collect signatures to qualify the measure for the November ballot.
Shortly after the Secretary of State approved the initiative, however, the ACLU, the Center for Reproductive Rights, and other abortion activists filed a protest with the Oklahoma Supreme Court against the initiative. They claimed that defining “person” as proposed in the initiative would violate the Supreme Court’s abortion decisions. Rather than rule on the procedural issues, the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled on the substance of the initiative language and stated the definition of “person” conflicted with the U.S. Supreme Court abortion decisions.
Liberty Counsel argues that the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled prematurely on whether the definition of “person” conflicts with Supreme Court abortion decisions and, thus, deprived Personhood Oklahoma of its right to propose amendments to the state constitution and deprives Oklahoma voters of their First Amendment right to discuss and consider the issue. Personhood Oklahoma also notes that the Oklahoma court’s ruling contradicts decisions by other federal courts, state supreme courts, and the United States Supreme Court that do not permit courts to invalidate initiatives before they are voted on by the people and improperly analyzes the potential effects of the proposed initiative as if it were passed.
“We need to restore a culture of life in America,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Liberty Counsel is pleased to partner with Personhood USA to advance legal protections for every human being. It is undisputed medical science that human life begins at the moment of conception. The right to life is the right of all rights. The people of Oklahoma have the right to vote on this important issue.”
Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics. www.LC.org