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Land of the Ballot Builders

Electoral populism continues its decade-long battle against the elite polity in Oregon, with at least 10 citizen initiatives on the ballot this November, including two that go after trial lawyers.

The Oregonian covers the activism, much coming from familiar advocates of smaller government, lower taxes, and less organized labor, Bill Sizemore and Russ Walker. The Statesman-Journal also has a story, suggesting as many as 14 initiatives making it to the ballot. Two of the qualified measures (as detailed at the excellent Secretary of State's online database):

The first, Initiative 51, limits a lawyer's contingency fees to 25 percent for the first $25,000 and 10 percent above $25,000. The second, Initiative 53, requires the court to sanction attorneys who file frivolous pleadings in civil actions.

Sizemore was the Republican Party's candidate for governor in 1998. Last week, the Oregon Supreme Court upheld a $2.5 million civil verdict against Sizemore, the result of a racketeering lawsuit brought by the state's teachers unions against Sizemore-organized groups that collected petitions for initiated measures in 2000. Statesman-Journal story here, and the Supreme Court's opinion in S054403 American Fed. Teachers v. Oregon Taxpayers United is available here.



Rafael Mangual
Project Manager,
Legal Policy

Manhattan Institute


Published by the Manhattan Institute

The Manhattan Insitute's Center for Legal Policy.