Courier-Journal by Andrew Wolfson, Louisville Courier-Journal
June 13, 2019
Marsy’s Law, which provides new rights for crime victims, is invalid because the entire text of the proposed constitutional amendment wasn’t on the ballot, the Kentucky Supreme Court unanimously ruled Thursday.
The amendment received 63% of the vote, but the court said the one-sentence description to voters was inadequate.
“Our constitution is too important and valuable to be amended without the full amendment ever being put to the public,” Chief Justice John Minton Jr. wrote for the court. Changing it “requires a meaningful, thoughtful opportunity for the voters to know what they are voting on.”
The opinion affirmed Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate’s finding in October that the ballot measure language was so vague and uninformative that the vote on it shouldn’t be certified, pending further review by higher courts.
But because the ballot had already been printed, the amendment was presented to voters.
The ballot question asked only, “Are you in favor of providing constitutional rights to victims of crime, including the right to be treated fairly, with dignity and respect, and the right to be informed and to have a voice in the judicial process?”