Kerr, et al v. Hickenlooper, No. 12-1445 (10th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
Various groups and several Colorado state legislators filed suit in federal district court to challenge the Taxpayer's Bill of Rights (TABOR) violated the Guarantee Clause of the federal Constitution, was in direct conflict with provisions of the Enabling Act, and impermissibly amended the Colorado Constitution. In order to avoid Eleventh Amendment sovereignty issues, the Governor of Colorado was designated as the named defendant. Governor John Hickenlooper filed his Answer to the plaintiffs' Complaint, and promptly followed with a motion to dismiss, alleging that plaintiffs lacked Article III standing and prudential standing, and that their claims were barred by the political question doctrine. That motion was denied by the district court, and the Governor appealed to the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, contending the district court erred. The Governor asked the Court to dismiss the case on the same bases that he presented at district court. The ultimate issue before the Tenth Circuit was: whether plaintiffs suffered a particularized injury not widely shared by the general populace that entitled them to have their case heard by the federal courts, and whether the question presented was purely political in nature and should not be reached by the courts. The Tenth Circuit concluded that these plaintiffs could bring their claims, and that the political question doctrine did not bar the Court's consideration.