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You were expecting something else?

The Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, on the ballot summary statements for initiative petitions on reproductive rights and abortion:

“….the Secretary’s summary statements do not fairly describe the purposes and probable effects of the initiatives. The Secretary’s summary statements are replete with politically partisan language. After removal of the inaccurate and partisan language of the Secretary’s summary statements, the circuit court was left with largely unworkable summary statements. The circuit court was authorized to write alternative language to fulfill its responsibility that a fair and sufficient summary statement be certified. This result is clearly contemplated by the statute in the event that the Secretary fails to provide a workable framework for a summary statement with fair and sufficient language….”

“…the Secretary contends that the circuit court’s newly crafted summary statements are partial and misleading. The Secretary first takes issue with the circuit court’s language that the initiatives would remove Missouri’s ban on abortion. The Secretary argues that this language is inaccurate because Missouri does not have a ban on abortion, but only a ban on elective abortion. This argument is puzzling, given that the Secretary argued earlier in point two that Missouri did have a ban on abortion. The Secretary previously argued that “Missouri was prohibited from enforcing its ban against abortion while Roe v. Wade was on the books.” Given the fact that the Secretary’s brief itself refers to Missouri having a ban on abortion, the argument that it is misleading for the summary statement to refer to the proposed amendments as removing Missouri’s ban on abortion is without merit…” – Missouri Court of Appeals, Western District, WD86595, October 31, 2023

Jay Ashcroft (r) [2019 file photo].

Jay Ashcroft (r), spinner:

October 31, 2023

Ashcroft Critical of Appeals Court’s Abortion Initiative Petitions Decision

Jefferson City, Mo. — Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft vowed to keep fighting for fair and accurate ballot language after the Western District Court of Appeals blocked his ballot summary language and for all practical purposes upheld a ruling by the lower court.

“Once again Missouri courts refused to allow the truth to be known. The Western District essentially approved the language that was entirely rewritten by Judge Beetem. Not only is the language misleading but it is categorically false,” said Ashcroft.

“The circuit court’s opinion admits the real issue is about abortion. The Western District today continued to gloss over the issue in its affirmation. We stand by our language and believe it fairly and accurately reflects the scope and magnitude of each petition.”

Through an Entry of Appearance filed with the Kansas City based court, Ashcroft was a representative on the legal team arguing the case alongside counsel from the attorney general’s office.

Ashcroft plans to appeal the decision and said, “My office will continue the fight to preserve an accurate summary for Missouri voters.”


The reality:

Appeals court swats down Ashcroft arguments on Missouri abortion rights petitions
Western District Court of Appeals rules Jay Ashcroft wrote misleading ballot titles with a ‘singular focus on abortion’

Secretary of State Jay Ashcroft wrote ballot titles for six proposals to restore abortion rights that were “replete with politically partisan language,” a Missouri appeals court unanimously ruled Tuesday.

In an expedited decision issued a day after hearing arguments, a three-judge panel of the Western District Court of Appeals upheld, with only minor revisions, the revised ballot titles written by Cole County Circuit Judge Jon Beetem.

In a decision by a separate panel, the court upheld the fiscal note summary written by State Auditor Scott Fitzpatrick. Rejecting arguments from two lawmakers and an anti-abortion activist, the court said Fitzpatrick’s summary was “fair and sufficient.”


“Without merit”. Now, that’s quite a legacy.