Statement by Oregon Republican Party Chair Justin Hwang and Vice Chair Dr. Angela Plowhead
Salem, OR, February 3, 2024—We are disappointed with, but not surprised by Thursday’s ruling of the Oregon Supreme Court, which interferes with the right of citizens in one-third of Oregon’s Senate districts to re-elect incumbent Senators. The Democrat-appointed justices decided to overlook the clear language of Measure 113’s constitutional amendment and to quash the minority’s right to express dissent through peaceful protest.
The court itself admits the language of the constitutional amendment favors the Senators: “If we were required to choose between [the Republican Senators’] and [Oregon Secretary of State’s] interpretations based on the text alone, [the Senators] would have a strong argument that their reading is the better one.”
Not only did rural constituents overwhelmingly support last year’s walkout, they demanded it, while urban representatives ignored, out-shouted, and even mocked rural concerns.
The foundational right to protest ensures the minority has a voice in the public square. When in the minority, Democrats also walked out to express dissent. This ruling serves to suppress minority voices, to erode trust in a once non-partisan justice system, and to demonstrate the lack of accountability of single-party rule. We are living in a day when Lady Justice is no longer blind and partisan fingers tip her scales.