Kevin And Don Respond To Being Self Loathing

Looking back at their journey from the Stonewall Democratic Club to Log Cabin Republicans, they claim it was one that was actually started by the democrats. After being told that marriage as not a priority on the agenda in 1995, they became disillusioned with the DEMS. For a decade they felt like they did not belong until they met the republicans of the Log Cabin Republican Club and discovered they too shared a dream of marriage equality. This blog is now a digital time capsule of their time as Republicans and moderated by a friend and supporter.

Wednesday, September 07, 2011

Proposition 8 California's Fractured Fairy Tale

Tani Cantil-Sakauye

California's antiquated initiative process has been around for over 100 years and is politically fracturing. However for more than a century, Oregon has led the country in direct democracy, with the state’s voters confronting more initiatives than other Americans.

California should take notice. As Californians struggle to redesign their own century-old direct democracy, people around the world are studying the Oregon example, seeking lessons about what works, and what doesn’t, in citizen legislation.

But in California the debate is harming the process.

Perhaps the original Prop 8 decision that it was an amendment and that the removal of civil rights is permitted by a simply majority vote of the people is wrong. Perhaps where no injury is shown at the trial level and there is no economic or physical harm to third parties, in matters of Civil rights, these things cannot be addressed by an initiative amendment.

Proponents of Proposition 8 argued that Yes on 8 must be granted. Yes argues un-elected individuals with money can buy standing to defend the California same-sex marriage ban in federal court to protect the power of simply majorityn rule of the people to freely amend the state constitution to remove civil rights from a targeted minority (and forget the Republican form of government idea Jefferson created).

The opponents argued Yes on 8 must be denied standing in order to protect the power of the people to elected state officers, in accordance with the state constitution.

The seven-member California Supreme Court is in trouble. If they permit standing, they confer Article 3 standing by judicial fiat on private organization with private funds to argue at a federal level that the initiative process can remove civil rights from a protected class by a simple majority vote.

The 9th Circuit seemed troubled in the same way and sent the question back to the California Supreme Court.

The 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals sent the question about legal standing to the California Supreme Court. Until they receive the state court’s opinion on the matter, the federal appeals panel has postponed ruling on the legal authority of Yes on 8 to appeal a federal district court decision that struck down Proposition 8.

California has about until Wednesday, December 6, 2011 to issue it ruling. Unless both courts agree that Yes on 8 does have standing, the federal appeals panel cannot rule on whether that federal district court ruling will stand.

The complicated question, in simple form, is this: If state legal officers, elected by the people, decide not to appeal a federal district court decision involving the state violating federal civil rights (Equal Protection), can some other entity (privately funded with no showing of harm) represent the people in defending a law approved by a majority of voters to deny civil rights to a targeted minority?

Look for yourself, there is nothing in the California constitution or laws that permit Yes on 8 to appeal when the government decides not to.

Unfortunately Justice Joyce Kennard thinks it would the court to “nullify” the people’s power to pass initiatives, leaving the people “unrepresented.” [Apparently even when a minority's civil rights are at stake.

To grant Yes on 8 standing to appeal a civil rights decision to the effect of removing civil rights my a simple majority vote in California on a federal decision that the state elected officers decided not to appeal amounts to harming the inherent checks and balances in the California system.

The position that when the governor and the state attorney general do not have to defend federal rulings that find the state violated the constitutional rights of a minority is logical.

The constitution does not give anyone else authority to defend state law, including initiatives, in federal court.

Yes on 8 represent money interests, suffered no actual injury and have taken no oath to represent the people.

Goodwin Liu is concerned that the Yes side has invested a lot and presumably this somehow buys them the right to argue against civil rights.

But spending a lot of money on an initiative should not grant proponents of an initiative the legal right to defend it.

But, it seems like a veto power over initiatives in extremely limited matters. Those situations arise where there is no actual injury by appellants and it is a matter of Civil Rights and left to the governor and attorney general to decide in the powers reserved to them.

The LGBT community has been the initiative target before due in part to the Court’s past reluctance to enforce any meaningful limits on the process, by deeming a revision a revision when it removes fundamental rights to a minority group in California.

I believe the Court will finally do the right thing and decide that small groups of unelected individuals who are answerable to no one should not be able to act on behalf of the state.