We in Maryland have petitions to override laws the legislature enacted and to approve amendments to the Maryland Constitution. Other States have similar laws. California also allows petitions to enact new laws. Sounds very democratic, in a political structure sense, not a partisan sense.
However, the Constitutional Convention debated the question of democracy and concluded that democracy can only work in small settings, not in large state or national structures. Thus, Constitution's Article IV section 4. states:
"The United States shall guarantee to every State in this Union a Republican Form of Government ..."
A republican form of government requires a representative, elected legislature.
It seems to me that any petition to override an enactment of a duly elected representative state legislature is a violation of the "republican form of government" requirement. When the concept was challenged a century ago, the Supreme Court evaded the problem by asserting that "United States" meant only the Congress. That is patently incorrect. Maybe it is time to question that again, especially when two of the current petitions involve reversing acts of the legislature that directly apply the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. Those petitions not only raise the question of "republican form of government" but they also raise the fundamental question of using a democratic method to override enactments that reflect Constitutional requirements.
Ronald P. Bowers, Timonium