Idaho Supreme Court

The Idaho Supreme Court building in Boise.

The first shot was fired last week in what will be a volley of attempts to reverse the will of the people Idaho.

Brent Regan, the chairman of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, represented by local attorney Bryan Smith, filed suit directly to the Idaho Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of Proposition 2.

Having been resoundingly defeated at the ballot box, the backers of this lawsuit seek from the courts what they could not get from the voters.

The objections raised in the lawsuit are narrow and technical, having to do with the specific wording of a few passages in the initiative language. For example, the initiative directs the Department of Health and Welfare to take “all necessary actions” to implement Medicaid expansion rather than “all reasonable actions.” This is splitting hairs, but it could be of some value if the objective was to get all the details just right.

But the backers of the lawsuit want something else.

Unlike the narrow objections, the relief sought in the lawsuit is broad and sweeping. The lawsuit’s backers want Prop 2 as a whole to be reversed, for the work of thousands of volunteers and the votes of hundreds of thousands of Idahoans to be erased in one fell swoop.

If the lawsuit was a good-faith effort to make sure the referendum was constitutional, it would seek some relief that’s as narrow as the objections. For example, the suit’s backers might ask the court to make minor fixes to the language proposed in the initiative. If there’s anything to their technical objections, the court could resolve them without overturning the substance of the people’s will.

But the lawsuit has not taken that tack for a simple reason. Its backers’ sole objective is to override the will of the people, and they will grasp at any straw they can in order to justify themselves.

The obvious conclusion is exactly what we have stated previously: The backers of this lawsuit hold you, the voters of the state of Idaho, in contempt. They believe that they are among the better class of men who ought to run the show instead of you.

But the truth is that they don’t run the show. You do.

So sometime in the future, they’ll want your vote. They’ll run for office, or push their own ballot initiative, or ask you to oppose a school bond. When they do, remember that they view you as a mere instrument or impediment, not as a member of “we the people” whose consent is required by any legitimate government.

When they do ask for your vote, remember that when the people had spoken, they tried to shout them down. Remember that they tried to deprive tens of thousands of your neighbors of health care even in the face of overwhelming evidence that doing so would cause many hardworking but low-income Idahoans to live sicker and die younger.

Punish them at the ballot box when next you get the opportunity. Who are they to substitute their will for yours?

The Post Register’s editorial board consists of Publisher Travis Quast, Managing Editor Monte LaOrange and editorial writer Bryan Clark. Clark can be reached at 208-542-6751.

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