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Opinion of the Justices

Supreme Court of New Hampshire

April 9, 2015

Opinion of the Justices (Domicile for Voting Purposes)

Submitted: March 30, 2015.

Request of the House

LINDA STEWART DALIANIS, GARY E. HICKS, CAROL ANN CONBOY, ROBERT J. LYNN, JAMES P. BASSETT.

OPINION

Page 258

On March 18, 2015, the clerk of the New Hampshire House of Representatives (House) notified the chief justice and the associate justices of the supreme court that, on March 11, 2015, the House had adopted a request for an opinion of the justices regarding House Bill (HB) 112, an act relative to domicile for voting purposes. The House has requested that the justices give their opinion upon the following questions of law:

" 1) Does HB 112 violate Part I, Article 11 of the New Hampshire State Constitution?

2) Does HB 112 violate any other provisions of the United States or the New Hampshire Constitution?"

To the Honorable House :

The following response is respectfully returned:

HB 112 proposes to amend RSA 654:1 (Supp. 2014) by inserting a new paragraph, which would provide: " A person who declares an address in a New Hampshire town or ward as his or her domicile for voting purposes shall be deemed to have established his or her residence for motor vehicle law purposes at that address."

Page 259

You have asked that the undersigned justices of the supreme court render an advisory opinion as to HB 112's constitutional validity. See N.H. Const. pt. II, art. 74. Part II, Article 74 requires justices of the supreme court to render advisory opinions " upon important questions of law and upon solemn occasions" when asked to do so by the legislature or the Governor and Council. Opinion of the Justices (Appointment of Chief Justice), 150 N.H. 355, 356, 842 A.2d 816 (2003) (quotation omitted); see N.H. Const. pt. II, art. 74.

You have posed two questions about the validity of HB 112. Your first question asks whether HB 112 would violate Part I, Article 11 of the New Hampshire Constitution. Your second question asks whether HB 112 violates any other provision of the United States or the New Hampshire Constitutions. Historically, we have declined to answer general inquiries on constitutional infirmity and, in keeping with that practice, we respectfully decline to answer the second question. See Opinion of the Justices (Requiring Att'y Gen. to Join Lawsuit), 162 N.H. 160, 164, 27 A.3d 859 (2011).

With regard to your first question, for the reasons that follow, " after carefully considering our constitutional duties and based upon long-established prior decisions," we respectfully ask to be excused from answering your first question at this time. Opinion of ...


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