Letter: Hiring lawyer wrong in Fighting Sioux logo issue
Legislative Management has made a big mistake in deciding to hire a lawyer to oppose the action by the State Board of Higher Education over the Fighting Sioux issue.
There may be a time when it might be worth spending taxpayer money to sort out a genuine issue regarding the constitutional role of the legislative branch when challenged by the executive branch, but a dispute over a sports logo is not that time.
The North Dakota Legislative Assembly has plenary power, meaning it has all power except that granted to other departments or denied it by the state or federal constitutions.
One of the limits on the power of the Legislative Assembly is a provision in the state constitution that grants to the State Board of Higher Education full authority over the institutions under its control. If that authority does not include control over sports logos, then the constitutional provision is meaningless, and courts do not so construe constitutions.
The last legislative action on the Fighting Sioux issue was the special session bill to repeal the law passed during the regular session requiring the logo, so anything Legislative Management does now to restore that law goes against the intent of the most recent legislative action. The regular session bill clearly violated the state constitution. The State Board of Higher Education is correct to go to court to uphold its constitutional power.
Legislators are wrong to hire a lawyer to try to find a way around the constitutional limitation on legislative power. Instead of hiring a lawyer, legislators should just read the constitution.
John D. Olsrud, Bismarck, Beach native and University of North Dakota grad