Friday, February 01, 2013

Summary 2013 WY 14

Summary of Decision February 1, 2013

Chief Justice Kite delivered the opinion for the Court.

Case Name: MAX MAXFIELD, in his individual capacity v. STATE OF WYOMING

Docket Number: S-12-0084


Certified Questions from the District Court of Laramie County, Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge.

Representing Appellants: Bradley T. Cave, P.C., Holland & Hart LLP, Cheyenne, Wyoming.

Representing Appellee: Gregory A. Phillips, Wyoming Attorney General.

Date of Decision: February 1, 2013

Facts: Max Maxfield, the Secretary of State for the State of Wyoming, filed a declaratory judgment action in district court challenging the constitutionality of Wyoming’s term limit statute. The State responded, asserting among other claims, that Mr. Maxfield’s complaint did not present a justiciable controversy and, in any event, the statute was constitutional. The Court accepted certification of the issues from the district court.

Certified Questions: The district court certified the following questions to this Court:

1. To proceed under the Wyoming Declaratory Judgment Act, Wyo. Stat. Ann. §§ 1-37-101 through 1-37-115, Mr. Maxfield must present a justiciable controversy. To do so, he must show existing and genuine rights or interests, not theoretical ones. Does this case present a justiciable controversy?

2. Is the term limit law for statewide elected officials (Wyo. Stat. Ann. § 22-5-103(a)(i)), constitutional and enforceable, or are the qualifications provided by the Wyoming Constitution exclusive?

Holdings: Answering the first certified question, the Court held that Mr. Maxfield has presented a justiciable controversy. Answering the second certified question, the Court held that § 22-5-103(a)(i), the term limit law for statewide elected officials, is unconstitutional with respect to the offices of secretary of state, auditor, treasurer, and superintendent of public instruction and the qualifications for those offices provided by the Wyoming Constitution are exclusive.

Summaries are prepared by Law Librarians and are not official statements of the Wyoming Supreme Court

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