Most of the criticism of the court’s ruling on standing has come from conservative analysts such as Ryan T. Anderson, senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, who said the decision “sets a disturbing precedent.”

“It would allow the executive branch to effectively veto any duly enacted law simply by refusing to defend it against a constitutional challenge,” Mr. Anderson said.

Conservative activists traditionally have used the ballot measure to greater effect than liberals, but left-wing political blogger Kevin Drum of Mother Jones agreed that the decision “has neither the flavor of justice nor of democratic governance, regardless of whether I like the outcome.”

“In cases like these, of course the governor and legislature are going to decline to defend the law in court,” Mr. Drum said in a post last week. The high court is “basically gutting the people’s right to pass initiatives that elected officials don’t like and then to defend