When judges abused power, ignored law, and ruled based on political interests, nobody won. The lawless rulings by Thurston County Superior Court and Washington State Supreme Court on the I-1000 lawsuit have prolong consequences for years to come:
- The Secretary of State did not comply with WAC 434-379-010. The sample she drew did not represent the signature population, therefore, she could not reliably project valid, non-duplicated signature counts. The Secretary of State has no valid basis to certify I-1000. By ruling in favor of the Secretary of State, the court allowed the SoS to continue ignoring the law and wrongfully certify or reject future initiatives.
- The law allows citizens to challenge the Secretary of State’s decision. The courts’ rulings set a precedent to shut the door down without a word of explanation and citizens’ rights have been taken away.
Nobody knows how many valid, non-duplicate signatures were actually submitted to the Secretary of State in support of Initiative 1000 (I-1000). The Secretary of State for sure does not know. She only sampled 3% of the overall signatures. By law (RCW 29A.72.230) , she is allowed to sample signatures and project the likely results, which she did. In order to project likely results from the samples, she is required to follow Washington Administrative Code (WAC 434-379-010), which she did not.
By law (RCW 29A.720.240), any citizen who is dissatisfied with the Secretary’s decision on certification may file petition to Superior Court of Thurston County. ACE president, Mr. Kan Qiu, and two other co-plaintiffs filed complaint to the Thurston County Superior Court on February 11th, challenge validity of I-1000 certification.
After examining public records data, Dr. Hubber, the statistician hired by the plaintiffs’ legal team issued a report. In conclusion, Dr. Hubber states “the SoS (Secretary of State) did not carry out an ‘unrestricted random sample’ as required by the regulations (WAC 434-379-010)” and “the ‘protection against misrepresentation of the population’ [Snedecor and Cochran] afforded by an unrestricted random sample has not been achieved. Therefore, the SoS has not shown an objectively valid basis to certify the I-1000 petition.” In plain words, the Secretary of State failed to comply with WAC requirement, and her sample failed to represent the entire signature population. As a result, her projection of likely valid, non-duplicated results is invalid.
Dr. Hubber’s report shows the clear differences between a true “unrestricted random sample” vs. the Secretary of State’s sample. And by Dr. Hubber’s estimation, “the SoS procedure produces within-page pairs at less than 60% of the rate it is required to do so.” In other words, the SoS underestimated duplicated signatures by more than 60%!
AG representing the Secretary of State filed Motion of Summary Judgement on March 4th. Mr. Qiu’s legal team filed Opposition to MSJ on March 21st. AG filed their reply on March 27th. Mr. Qiu’s lawyer received AG’s reply at 13:02 on March 27th. By 15:59 on March 27th, the court sent Mr. Qiu’s lawyer Order Granting Summary Judgement which was dated on March 26th, the day before AG’s reply was filed!
Former Managing Assistant AG and current Thurston County Superior Court Judge, Chris Lanese’s decision states “The Court agrees with each argument raised by Defendant. The bases for challenging the conduct at issue here are exceptionally narrow and Plaintiffs have failed to establish a genuine issue of material fact as to their applicability in this case.”
The core of the legal debate is “genuine issue of material fact”. Without “genuine issue of material fact”, a judge can grant Summary Judgement. Mr. Qiu and his co-plaintiffs demonstrated with data and analyses that the Secretary did not comply with the mandatory Washington Administrative Code, and that her error rendered the projection and certification unreliable and not in compliance with the law. How could Judge Lanese not understand or ignore this genuine issue of material fact, and sided with the Secretary of State?
The I-1000 backers had planed to have a public hearing in early April. A hastily decision by lawless judge Lanese helped clear the way – well, not so fast. Mr. Qiu and his co-plaintiff appealed to the Supreme Court.
The plaintiffs filed appeal on March 29th, and their lawyer filed appeal brief on April 9th. AG representing the Secretary of State filed reply on April 11th. And the plaintiffs’ lawyer replied on April 12th. On the afternoon of April 17th, few hours before I-1000 backers planned public hearing on I-1000, the Supreme Court ruled “Pursuant to RCW 29A.72.240, the Court dismisses the proceedings” without a word of explanation!
What the Supreme Court Judges can’t explain to you can be found in I-1000 sponsor’s amicus brief. In his amicus brief, Nat Jackson states: “the legislative hearing currently set for 8:00 a.m. on April 18 if this Initiative’s certification is resolved”. The Supreme court did what Nat Jackson asked – dismissed the case on April 17th so that the April 18th public hearing can go on as planned. People should be outraged!
More than 2,000 people have signed the petition that demands Judge Lanese to resign. People have also filed complaints against Judge Lanese to the State of Washington Commission on Judicial Conduct. We will file complaints against all Supreme Court Judges to the State of Washington Commissions on Judicial Conduct!