Amendment fails to win majority

CONCORD – A proposed constitutional amendment to limit the state Supreme Court’s power to make court rules was short of the required majority to pass.

The question on Tuesday’s ballot said the Supreme Court and the Legislature can write rules of evidence, procedure and court administration. But in case of a conflict, the Legislature would have the final word, unless a law it passed conflicted with a constitutional protection such as a defendant’s right to a fair trial.

The amendment, placed on the ballot by the Legislature, also would require four of the five Supreme Court justices to approve new court rules, instead of a simple majority of three.

With 61 percent of precincts reporting, the question was losing 57 percent to 43 percent.

The amendment needed a two-thirds vote to pass. A similar measure was narrowly defeated in 2002, with 63 percent of voters approving it.