An update on the Entrance to Aspen saga |

An update on the Entrance to Aspen saga

Dear Editor:

The successful initiative petition process in support of a new highway design for the Entrance to Aspen continues to work its way through the courts. At issue is whether the voters of Aspen are allowed to place such a question on the ballot for their own consideration, and the Colorado Supreme Court has scheduled oral arguments for March 2.

The filing of briefs and replies has preceded the Supreme Court hearing for several months. The petitioners’ opening brief contains the arguments supporting the right of citizens who signed the petitions to have their proposed questions placed on the ballot, and includes a copy of the negative Court of Appeals decision, which the Supreme Court has been asked to review.

Colorado Common Cause filed an amicus brief in support of the petitioners.

An answer brief from the city of Aspen is matched by an answer brief from the private citizens who filed the original protest to block the petitions, and their arguments explain why they believe the petition signers do not have the right to place these particular questions before the voters.

The petitioners’ reply brief responds to the arguments of the city and the three protesters.

Add it all up and it amounts to about 190 pages of legal argument and exhibits on the question of what constitutes legislative subject matter, which is allowed under the state constitution, and what material represents administrative matters which are not subject to the initiative process.

Knowing that not many people can resist the pulse-pounding excitement of nearly 200 pages of legal argument on a subject as scintillating as the distinction between administrative and legislative activity, we’ve put everything online. You can find all the filings at by clicking on the link titled “Where’s the Petition?”

It is worth mentioning that if the Colorado Supreme Court upholds the reasoning that the Court of Appeals used to block the petitions from the ballot, the outcome will represent the single most significant impairment of the right of initiative in the history of Colorado.

Whether or not you have an interest in the Entrance to Aspen, this case will impact the interests of every Colorado citizen and, owing to its status as a state supreme court decision, could influence future rulings all over the country. Boring has never been less dull.

Jeffrey Evans


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