Justice Done in Oklahoma! - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Justice Done in Oklahoma!

After spending more than a year trying to shut down popular democracy in Oklahoma, state Attorney General Drew Edmondson has dropped his prosecution-persecution of three initiative activists, including my friend Paul Jacob.  The great news is reported in the Tulsa World:

Attorney General Drew Edmondson said Thursday he has decided not to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn a federal appeals court that struck down an Oklahoma law barring nonresidents from circulating initiative petitions.

Edmondson also said his office dismissed criminal charges against three people accused of violating Oklahoma’s out-of-state petitioner ban. All three were scheduled for a preliminary hearing in Oklahoma County on Feb. 6 but Edmondson said he was awaiting the outcome of the appeals process before deciding whether to proceed.

“The statute under which these defendants were charged has been declared unconstitutional, and the appellate process is complete,” Edmondson said. “The statute is no longer enforceable.”

Paul Jacob of Virginia, a national leader of the term limit movement, Susan Johnson of Michigan, head of a signature-gathering company, and Rick Carpenter of Tulsa, director of Oklahomans In Action, were accused of conspiracy to defraud the state by using out-of-state circulators to collect signatures for the so-called taxpayer bill of rights in 2006.

Last month, a three-judge panel of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver ruled the nonresident petitioner law was unconstitutional and violated the First Amendment’s free speech protections as well as the Fourteenth Amendment.

This is good news for the movement, since Jacob has fought for term limits, budget and tax limitations, and educational choice in the past and has much more work to do.  But Edmondson’s final capitulation is particularly welcome for Jacob and his family, who have been suffering in the shadow of an unjust felony indictment.

The next step is for the people of Oklahoma to give Edmondson an appropriate “reward” for his services.

Doug Bandow
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Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute.
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