Mass AG dishes back on Common Core supporters’ lawsuit

Apr 15, 2016 by

BOSTON — Attorney General Maura Healey, named in a lawsuit by a band of pro-Common Core plaintiffs who allege she erred in certifying an initiative petition that would let voters decide whether to keep the controversial standards or revert to Massachusetts’ own pre-2010 frameworks, has responded with a court filing of her own.

Healey is defending her office’s decision to certify the initiative after opponents, backed by the Massachusetts Business Alliance for Education, hired the legal powerhouse Foley Hoag in an attempt to convince the state Supreme Judicial Court that the proposed ballot question is vaguely worded and conflicts with the state Constitution.

“Tiny technical flaw”

Healey’s 45-page response devotes a significant amount of ink to criticizing the plaintiffs’ position that a drafting error, in which a single word was mistakenly left out of the petition, made the wording unconstitutional.

The 11 plaintiffs’ March 7 filing relies upon constitutional language requirements, which state that “the enacting style of all measures submitted by the people in pursuance of an initiative petition for a law shall be: ‘Be it enacted by the People, and by their authority.”

The petition Healey approved instead read, “Be it enacted by the people and their authority,” omitting the word “by,” an error the plaintiffs argue should have been a “jurisdictional prerequisite to certification.”

RELATED: Common Core supporters sue to stop ballot initiative

Healey responded by noting that the omission of the word does not change the petition’s core message.

“The omission of the second ‘by’ from the enacting style is a trivial error that neither confuses the meaning of the measure nor bars certification,” she added.

Healey also pointed out that forcing citizen petitioners to adhere to such technical requirements “would open the way for adoption of other statutes imposing excessively technical form requirements to needlessly obstruct the initiative process” and “could also set traps for the unwary leading to invalidation of petitions.”


Source: Mass AG dishes back on Common Core supporters’ lawsuit | NewBostonPost

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