Wyoming: complaining of “activist judiciary” that “alter[s] the laws of God and nature”, House member proposes legislature override state supreme court decisions

A plan to allow the Wyoming legislature to override state supreme court decisions was rejected by the House late last week. HJR 7 as introduced provided any state supreme court decision after January 1, 2017 would be subject to a 36 month review period during which the legislature by 2/3rds vote could “void or annul the court’s decision, subject to [veto] by the governor under article 4, section 8.” Moreover the legislation overriding the supreme court would be exempt from judicial review.

On the floor the author of the plan complained of an “activist judiciary” and “despotic power in the judicial branch” that “alter[s] the law of God and nature at a whim” and thus the need of the legislature to have a “check and balance” on the courts (audio here from 13:00-18:00). Opponents noted among other things that this would make business decisions impossible since a state supreme court decision could not be relied upon.

Because the legislature is in its budget session “no bills except the budget bill may be introduced unless placed on call by a two-thirds vote of either house” meaning it needed 40 House votes just to be formally introduced; the final vote was 14 in favor of introduction and 45 against (1 excused).