The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that 10 Republican state senators who staged a six-week walkout over abortion, transgender treatments, and gun rights are ineligible to run for reelection.
The high court upheld the secretary of state’s decision to “disqualify the senators from the ballot under a voter-approved measure aimed at stopping such boycotts,” according to the Associated Press.
Voters approved a measure to amend the state constitution to ban legislators from reelection if they have over 10 unexcused absences.
Oregon GOP state senators who staged walkout over abortion can't run for reelection, high court says https://t.co/SoNW8mAT7n
— John Solomon (@jsolomonReports) February 1, 2024
The Associated Press reports:
Last year’s boycott lasted six weeks — the longest in state history — and paralyzed the legislative session, stalling hundreds of bills.
Five lawmakers sued over the secretary of state’s decision — Sens. Tim Knopp, Daniel Bonham, Suzanne Weber, Dennis Linthicum and Lynn Findley. They were among the 10 GOP senators who racked up more than 10 absences.Advertisement
“We obviously disagree with the Supreme Court’s ruling,” said Knopp, the chamber’s minority leader. “But more importantly, we are deeply disturbed by the chilling impact this decision will have to crush dissent.”
During oral arguments before the Oregon Supreme Court in December, attorneys for the senators and the state wrestled over the grammar and syntax of the language that was added to the state constitution after Measure 113 was approved by voters.
The amendment says a lawmaker is not allowed to run “for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.”
🚨Just in: The Oregon Supreme Court has blocked 10 Republican State Senators from running for reelection in 2024 and 2026 due to them walking out to stall bills from passing. pic.twitter.com/5sTUPrfFOR
— The Calvin Coolidge Project (@TheCalvinCooli1) February 1, 2024
The Oregon Supreme Court ruled that 10 GOP state senators cannot run for reelection after they refused to attend Senate sessions for about six weeks out of protest last year in an attempt to stall Democratic-backed bills. https://t.co/s5RU99Ojsy pic.twitter.com/MuolbHBwHE
— The Hill (@thehill) February 1, 2024
According to The Hill, Republicans control a minority of Oregon’s state Senate, 12 out of 30 seats.
When the GOP state senators walked out, the legislative body could not reach a quorum and conduct votes.
“The absent lawmakers demanded legislative concessions in exchange for their return,” the outlet noted.
More from The Hill:
The constitutional amendment says a lawmaker is not allowed to run “for the term following the election after the member’s current term is completed.” The lawmakers argued that would let them run again, as the election is held before the end of their terms, with the secretary of state and ultimately the state Supreme Court disagreeing.
The ballot referendum passed by a wide margin after similar GOP walkouts in 2019, 2020 and 2021.