On April 30, repeatedly citing Planned Parenthood v. Casey, the Oklahoma State Supreme Court denied Personhood Oklahoma’s right to petition, ruling the ballot measure “unconstitutional.”
In a rare move against the people of Oklahoma, the State Supreme Court ruled against the ballot initiative before it went to a vote, denying the people’s right to vote on the issue and the circulator’s right to petition the government. In the Casey decision, Justice Scalia’s dissenting opinion brings weight to the State’s right to allow the people to decide the permissibility of abortion:
“The permissibility of abortion, and the limitations upon it, are to be resolved like most important questions in our democracy: by citizens trying to persuade one another and then voting.” Justice Scalia, Planned Parenthood vs. Casey.
“Planned Parenthood v. Casey and Roe v. Wade, according to Justice Scalia’s opinion, have no basis in law. Because of this, the undue burden of the standard of Casey is completely unworkable,” explained Gualberto GarciaJones, Personhood USA legal analyst. “With such a vague standard and any variety of interpretations, it is impossible for citizens to understand it and apply it. Justice Scalia said citizens can resolve the issue of abortion by persuading one another and voting. If Oklahoma citizens are denied the opportunity to do so, our only recourse is to petition the Supreme Court.”
Steve Crampton, Vice President for Legal Affairs and General Counsel for Liberty Counsel, who represents Personhood Oklahoma, said: “This ruling epitomizes judicial overreaching. It not only misinterprets and misapplies federal constitutional law, but it also denies states’ rights and strips Oklahomans of their right to petition for a substantive change in state law, which is guaranteed under the state constitution. We are hopeful that the United States Supreme Court will reverse this decision.”
While five U.S. Supreme Court Justices are required for a favorable ruling, only four are required to approve a petition for certiorari.
Personhood Oklahoma had been collecting signatures for the Personhood Amendment for two months. The amendment reads, “A ‘person’ as referred to in Article 2, Section 2 of this Constitution shall be defined as any human being from the beginning of the biological development of that human being to natural death. The inherent rights of such person shall not be denied without due process of law and no person as defined herein shall be denied equal protection under the law due to age, place of residence or medical condition.”
“The people of Oklahoma will not be silenced,” explained Dan Skerbitz, Director of Personhood Oklahoma. “We have 13,000 volunteers who have been circulating petitions and are ready and willing to continue this fight for human lives. We are more determined than ever to rise up against judicial tyranny and cowardly State Representatives who do not represent the will of the people of Oklahoma. “