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MADISON - Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen today filed a brief in the Wisconsin Supreme Court asking the court to affirm Dane County Circuit Court Judge Richard G. Niess's ruling in McConkey v. Van Hollen upholding the constitutionality of the legislatures presentation to voters of the November 2006 marriage amendment ballot question. The amendment passed with over 59% of the vote.
At issue before the Supreme Court is whether the marriage amendment as submitted to and approved by the voters during the November 2006 elections met the State Constitutions requirements for amending the Constitution. In the circuit court, Judge Niess found that the marriage amendment ballot question satisfied the constitutional requirement that each ballot question contain only one amendment. Judge Niess found that the question was a single amendment because the propositions contained in the text related to the same subject matter and were designed to accomplish the same general purpose. After Judge Niess's ruling, McConkey appealed to the Wisconsin Court of Appeals, which certified the appeal to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. In response to McConkeys appeal and the Court of Appeals certification, Van Hollen has asked the Supreme Court to affirm Judge Niess's holding.
Van Hollen has also cross-appealed from Judge Niess's partial denial of a motion to dismiss McConkeys case. Van Hollen argued in the circuit court that McConkey was not personally injured by any alleged failure to present the propositions as separate questions, and therefore lacks standing to litigate the claim. Judge Niess held that McConkey did have standing to pursue his claim, and Van Hollen has asked the Supreme Court to reverse that decision.
The Attorney General is represented in this appeal by Deputy Attorney General Raymond Taffora and Assistant Attorney General Lewis Beilin.
The briefs can be viewed here: