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Supreme Court hears arguments in case against Mo. secretary of state

November 06, 2000
By: Katy Scott
State Capital Bureau

JEFFERSON CITY - The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in a case against Missouri Secretary of State Rebecca Cook today.

The case concerns a 1996 ballot initiative that encouraged Congress members to support term limits.

According to the initiative, congressional candidates who did not promise to work toward a constitutional amendment instituting term limits would have a label reading "Disregarded Voters' Instructions on Term Limits" or "Declined to Pledge to Support Term Limits" next to their names on the ballot.

A congressional candidate, Don Gralike, challenged the proposal on the grounds that it violated the first amendment. Gralike said the government was penalizing those who oppose or choose not to address term limits.

The state of Missouri, however, claims that the initiative is legal because by volunteering to run for office, congressional candidates sacrifice some of their rights.

Two lower courts have ruled in favor of Gralike. The Supreme Court is expected to rule by this spring.