Idaho Supreme Court

Rebecca Boone / AP Photo

The Idaho Supreme Court heard arguments Thursday on a case that could decide the future of a 6 percent sales tax on groceries.

The Idaho Legislature passed a bill this year removing the tax. They adjourned and went home. Governor Butch Otter vetoed the bill, 11 days after adjournment. And that’s where the controversy started.

Some GOP lawmakers filed suit, arguing the Idaho Constitution says a governor has ten days to veto a bill after adjournment. But in 1978, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled the governor has ten days, starting when he gets the bill.

Rebecca Boone / AP Images

The Idaho Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Thursday over a controversial veto by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

The Idaho Legislature passed a repeal of the grocery tax earlier this year, a 6 percent tax that most states do not impose. The measure gained bipartisan support and passed the Senate and House in March.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

Fifteen candidates are vying for an open seat on the Idaho Supreme Court.

Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann announced earlier this year he will retire in August — 16 months before the end of his current six-year term. This Idaho Judicial Council has since solicited names, where they will then recommend up to four names to the governor for appointment instead of waiting until the 2018 election.

Idaho's Supreme Court positions are nonpartisan.

Planned Parenthood of the Northwest

A federal judge has agreed to dismiss a lawsuit challenging two anti-abortion laws in Idaho now that lawmakers have repealed the targeted statutes.

In 2015, the Planned Parenthood of the Great Northwest and the Hawaiian Islands sued the state over two newly enacted bans that prohibited women from receiving abortion-inducing medication through telemedicine. Planned Parenthood argued that the laws placed unnecessary burdens on women seeking safe abortions.

AP

An opening on the Idaho Supreme Court won't be filled through an election but through an application process.

Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann announced earlier this year he will retire in August — 16 months before the end of his current six-year term.

Facebook

The Idaho Supreme Court upheld a ruling by a lower court finding public school student fees are unconstitutional.

The case was brought in 2012 by former Nampa Schools Superintendent Russell Joki. The case claimed school fees undercut the guarantee of free public education in the state. Listed defendants in the suit were the state of Idaho, the West Ada School District and the state legislature.

AP

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel Eismann says he will retire this fall after more than 16 years on the state's highest court.

Eismann has served in the state's judiciary for three decades, first as a magistrate judge in Owyhee County and later as a district judge in Ada County. He joined the high court in 2000 after defeating incumbent Cathy Silak in a highly contentious and partisan race.

Idaho Governor's Office

Attorney Robyn Brody has been sworn in as the newest justice on the Idaho Supreme Court.

KTVB-TV reports that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter administered the oath of office Tuesday at the Idaho Statehouse.

Brody won a seat on the state's highest court in November in a runoff election against opponent Republican Sen. Curt McKenzie, of Nampa. The last time there was a runoff election for an Idaho Supreme Court seat was in 1998.

Idaho Statesman

The two Idaho Supreme Court candidates hoping to replace Chief Justice Jim Jones both say they support promoting pro bono work across the state.

Pro bono refers to work done by attorneys on a volunteer basis for free or reduced rates.

However, neither Twin Falls attorney Robyn Brody nor state GOP Sen. Curt McKenzie say they track how many hours of pro bono work they provide. Both candidates say they believe they clock more than the suggested 50 hours of free or reduced-fee legal services each year.

Campaign finance reports show that Idaho Supreme Court candidate Robyn Brody has raised more than $177,000, but her campaign will be giving a small portion of that back because some contributions violated the state's campaign laws.

Brody received $27,000 from four farm-related companies all tied to one owner. Idaho's Sunshine Law prohibits donors from giving more than $10,000 to statewide candidates during primary or general elections, including banning aggregated contributions.

Deputy Secretary of State Tim Hurst says Brody is expected to file an amended report Wednesday.

The chief justice of Idaho's Supreme Court says he won't run for re-election, and one potential candidate has already announced he'll run for the newly vacant seat.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Chief Justice Jim Jones said Wednesday he won't seek a third six-year term. The 73-year-old Jones says he decided not to pursue the seat once he learned Clive Strong was interested.

The chief justice can't endorse a candidate but believes that Strong, who works in the state Attorney General's office, is "certainly qualified."

The Coeur d'Alene Tribe is asking the Idaho Supreme Court to order the state to enforce legislation banning instant horse racing terminals.

The tribe filed the petition with the state's highest court on Wednesday, contending that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's veto of the legislation was invalid because the governor didn't complete the veto within the required five-day time span.

A committee of Idaho lawmakers has begun the complicated task of trying to bring the state's public defense system in line with constitutional requirements.

Members of the Public Defense Interim Committee met in Boise on Thursday to hear from state and national experts who warned that Idaho's system is so inadequate that it's likely unconstitutional, and as a result, it's only a matter of time until a lawsuit forces the state to make major changes.

cigarette, tobacco
SuperFantastic / Flickr Creative Commons

State Supreme Court justices bolstered Idaho's power to regulate cigarettes shipped to Indian-owned businesses in a ruling that touched not only on Native American sovereignty but also public health.

Justices wrote Thursday that Idaho could prevent Canadian-made cigarettes — ones that hadn't been taxed in the U.S. to help cover tobacco-related illness costs — from being shipped to a Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation-based retailer.

Idaho Statesman

Sunday we learned that former Idaho Supreme Court Justice Byron Johnson passed away after a battle with cancer.

He was a lawyer and a political mover and shaker.  But in his heart, Byron Johnson was a poet.  “I think that poetry is a vehicle that I have used to deal with feelings I have that are hard to resolve,” he once said.

Pages