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Governor’s Order on Ballot Initiatives Highlights Justice Inequities – Community Corner

Published on: June 22nd, 2020

 

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The pandemic is providing a lens through which inequity is plainly visible for all to see. Essential workers earning survival wages are dying so we can go to the supermarket, e.g., and Governor Polis has made highly visible public proclamations that attempt to balance safety with the need to pretend capitalism is a worthy economic system.

To wit, after much pushing, the Governor ordered a moratorium on evictions that will have expired by the time you read this. Later, on May 15th, Governor Polis issued Executive Order D 2020 065, which, inter alia, addresses the challenges of collecting signatures for citizen-initiated ballot initiatives by “[a]uthoriz[ing] registered electors to sign petitions by a means that does not require a petition circulator, including but not limited to providing electronic mail and mail-in options . . . .” Within days, a lawsuit was filed that shines a light on who does and doesn’t benefit from access to the courts.

While there are 6,415 people for every legal aid attorney providing pro bono legal assistance, those with money can pursue legal redress for whatever ails them.

By way of example, Daniel Ritchie, who runs an “organization devoted to investing in and promoting a pro-business environment through the political process” asserts that, as a result of the Governor’s order, he “will be adversely impacted by several . . .  initiatives[, such as an initiative that] would create a mandatory state-run paid medical and family leave program into which employers and employees would be required to contribute[, and another that] would eliminate Colorado’s flat rate of income taxation and would replace it with a graduated income tax system under which Plaintiff Ritchie’s taxes would be increased.”

Ritchie hired law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, with former Boulder County DA Stan Garnett listed as one of the attorneys filing to protect Ritchie’s right to his wealth. Garnett shared that he “would be crazy to pass up” the opportunity to work for the firm. Justice may be blind, but it certainly sees the color of money.

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