The Operation of the Initiative, Referendum and Recall in Oregon

By James D. Barnett | Go to book overview

CHAPTER XV
THE AMENDMENT AND REPEAL OF DIRECT LEG- ISLATION BY THE LEGISLATIVE ASSEMBLY

"ARE any and all acts by the people in whom sovereign power resides liable to be turned down by legislators who are mere representatives?"1 The constitution is silent in the matter, but the supreme court has answered in the affirmative. "Our legislature...can, if it chooses, repeal all the laws (not included in constitutional amendments) enacted at the... election."2 And likewise the legislature may legally enact any laws previously rejected by the people.3 "If the people intended by the initiative or referendum to take from the legislature its power to legislate, why did they provide precisely the same method for popular enactment of a constitutional amendment and a statutory law? Yet the clear distinction is: In the one case there is specific inhibition upon legislative interference; in the other, the way is intentionally left open for legislative amendment, revision or repeal."4 In fact it was clearly the intention of the promoters of the direct legislative movement to leave such powers with the legislative assembly.5 But from the very first there has been a feeling of "delicacy in dealing with a law placed

____________________
1
Oregon Journal, Feb. 12, 1911, sec. 2, p. 6, col. 1.
2
Kiernan v. Portland, Oregon Reports, vol. 57, pp. 454, 480 ( 1910). See also Kadderly v. Portland, ibid., vol. 44, pp. 118, 146 ( 1903); State v. Schuler, ibid., vol. 59, pp. 18, 26 ( 1910). Cf. above, pp. 129-30.
3
State v. Cochran, Oregon Reports, vol. 55, pp. 157, 195 ( 1909).
4
Oregonian, Dec. 3, 1912, p. 8, col. 2.
5
W. S. U'Ren, Oregonian, Feb. 9, 1913, sec. 3, p. 4, col. 4; W. S. U'Ren, quoted in Oregonian, July 9, 1904, p. 6, col. 1; Oregon Journal, Feb. 6, 1913, p. 5, col. 2. There was at least some contemporary opinion to the contrary. Oregonian, Dec. 27, 1903, p. 16, col. 2.

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