Hazell v. Brown

Summarized by:

  • Court: Oregon Supreme Court
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: 10-04-2012
  • Case #: S059245
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: De Muniz, J. for the Court; Balmer, C.J.; Kistler, J.; Landau, J.; Linder J.; and Walters, J; Durham, J. concurred in part and dissented in part.
  • Full Text Opinion

Campaign finance reform laws, contained within Measure 47, limiting campaign contributions, are inoperable until such time that the Oregon Constitution is amended to grant these provisions a constitutional basis.

Supporters of Measure 47 appealed the decision of the trial court and the Court of Appeals that Measure 47, by itself, is inoperable. In 2006, voters passed Measure 47, statutorily categorizing and enforcing constitutional provisions, proposed concurrently to the voters, under Measure 46. However, Measure 46 did not pass. Supporters brought an action against the Secretary of State to enforce provisions of Measure 47, despite the failure to pass the constitutional amendments in Measure 46. The trial court rejected these claims on the basis that Measure 47 itself is inoperative without proper constitutional provisions limiting campaign contributions. The Oregon Supreme Court held, that without a constitutional amendment limiting campaign contributions, Measure 47 is inoperable. Petitioners argued that the the provisions of Measure 47 should be reviewed by the Court for their constitutionality despite the failure to amend the Oregon Constitution. The Court rejected this proposal on the grounds that legislative limits on campaign contributions had previously been found unconstitutional. The Court explained that the text of Measure 47 set forth that the provisions contained within, would only become effective at such time as the Oregon Constitution was amended to allow such limitations. The Court, therefore found that the failure to amend the Constitution prevented the enforcement of Measure 47's provisions and that the statute itself was inoperable until such an amendment occurs. Affirmed.

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