Curtis Vagneur and Jeffrey Evans v. City of Aspen et. al., 2013CO13 (February 11, 2013)

“If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.” Federalist Papers #51. This seemingly modest case raises complicated questions about the separation of powers. At issue were two citizen-initiated proposed ordinances in Aspen and whether they were “legislative” or “executive.” Only legislative acts are proper subjects of voter initiatives. Administrative acts, which are executive in nature, are not permissible initiatives. Legislative acts establish generally applicable rules that weigh broad policy considerations. Executive acts are case-specific, discretionary and typically require specialized knowledge. The Court held, over two dissents, that the initiatives here were impermissible because they were specific proposals on the location, design and construction of a road, and thus, administrative.

http://www.courts.state.co.us/userfiles/file/Court_Probation/Supreme_Court/Opinions/2009/09SC1022.pdf

http://www.cobar.org/opinions/opinion.cfm?opinionid=8826&courtid=2

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