Group forms to oppose Constitutional Amendment No. 3, AKA 'Marsy's Law'

BISMARCK, N.D. - The debate over Constitutional Measure Three, or Marsy's Law, is beginning to grow as election day gets closer.

Advocates say it would grant rights to victims they need to stay protected.

Opponents, however, are now organizing against the ballot measure.

All these signatures in support of Marsy's Law contain what would be a first in North Dakota, an individual's name in state's constitution.

"It is unprecedented to place in our consitution the name of any institution, let alone the name of the victim of a California crime. This is simply bad constitutional law," says Bob Wefald, former ND attorney general.

Wefald, victim's advocates, criminal defense attorneys, state's attorneys and retired judges have started "No On 3 ND" to fight what they call the "Nickname Amendment."

"We struggle with this because it has not had the proper vetting and the appropriate attention it needs to become a constitutional amendment," says Renee Stromme, North Dakota Women's Network.

"They should've gone to the legislature and said, we'd like to get some laws changed. Through the debate in the legislature, we could've seen what the plusses and minuses were. We could also see what the costs of it involved," says Wefald.

In a statement, Marsy's Law for North Dakota Chair Kathleen Wrigley said: "Measure 3 is ultimately about the fundamental rights of crime victims - the right to be notified of criminal proceedings, the right to be heard at certain proceedings like sentencings, the right to restitution and the right to be free from harassment. These are basic rights that we believe people harmed by crime deserve. Ironically, the arguments our opposition make to these rights are the same arguments used against the women's right to vote last century. Clearly the 19th Amendment was the right thing to do, just as Measure 3 is the right thing to do now. When we know better, we must do better. Marsy's Law does better."​

Opponents say the amendment is too wordy and vague, which could lead to costly legal battles.