California’s Abused Referendum Process

Food for Thought

If there is one important lesson to be learned from the last election it is that the referendum process in California is broken and being abused. There is something wrong when any individual or group with unlimited funds to flood the airwaves with propaganda and the malls and grocery store parking lots of the state with petition signature gatherers paid on commission can attempt to either legislate morality based on religion or enrich themselves at the expense of the taxpayers. More to the point, many such measures violate both the spirit and letter of the fundamental documents of our democracy, the U.S. Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, as well as the structure and process of government in a federal republic. Let’s take three cases in point.

First, there is the T. Boone Pickpocket type of measure where an extremely wealthy private individual, group or corporation takes a serious stab at getting the state’s citizens to award public money, ownership or management of property in the public trust, political/economic power, or all three to the measure’s sponsor. These propositions never contain language to explain the implications to the public good or the fact that they will enrich one individual, nor do they put forth any plan as to how they are to be financed. No proposition that enriches or confers any power or public trust property to any individual citizens or private entity should ever be on the ballot.

Another case is the arcane “law and order” measure or ones arising from an emotional reaction to circumstances, or based on ideology, that alter the application or process of settled law, the effects of which the average voting citizens cannot possibly understand without specialist, in-depth knowledge. This is precisely the type of issue that should be decided within the format of representative democracy, where every aspect and implication of what is proposed can be intensively studied over a period of time long enough to reach a well-considered decision that is in the best interests of the citizenry as a whole.

My third example is the measure that amends the state constitution, especially those written to suit a special interest group’s ideological or religious dictates, which limit civil rights of individual citizens in direct contravention of the U.S. Constitution. Like the amendment process imposed by our national founding legal framework, amending the state constitution should require a supermajority of a three-quarters vote. Our founding fathers designed this requirement to avoid the civil tyranny of mob rule and to ensure that the basic human rights of all citizens granted by the U.S. Constitution endure.

The recent example of this type of abuse, Proposition 8, also blatantly violates other aspects of the U.S. Constitution such as the well-established principles of equal protection and church-state separation. Proposition 8 is being challenged on constitutional grounds and is sure to be struck down. However, given that it obviously contravenes the legal and spiritual embodiment of our founding principles that supposedly represent all that we aspire to as a nation, it should have never become an electoral issue—especially when we citizens have a multitude of far more important matters facing us.

50 Comments

  1. People should be required to pass a test before voting. Many are simply too irrational and too ignorant to the workings of our government. The Prop 8 supporters keep saying “but we voted on it,” as if that’s the end-all argument. Their primitive views on homosexuality aside, it’s embarrassing that so many adults cannot comprehend fifth grade civics lessons, like acknowledging the rights set forth in the constitution.

  2. Guys: I voted No on 8, too, but do not see this as a Constitutional issue. Please explain where in constitution there is a ‘right’ to marry or something which leads you to that conclusion? You can say it’s equitable or fair, but that’s not the same as saying it’s unconst’l. I must say the intolerant name-calling and intimidation from many of my fellow No on 8 voters since the election is really disturbing.

  3. There is nothing specific in the constitution about a right to marry, just a right to equal treatment. I see that as the basic issue here. From what I understand, it’s what the supreme court originally saw, too. I think trying to amend that right in the manner being done would be too disruptive and would open a Pandora’s box which, ironically, the other side keeps talking about (“gay marriage leads to pedophilia, bestiality, etc”).

    RGD, we’ve already had this debate, so I’ll try and leave it at that.

  4. Hmmm. Since my last post some quick googling makes me start seeing the California Constitutional angle to the opposition on 8. Evidently a decision in the 40s striking down laws against different race marriages was v broad and may have created a California-specific ‘right.’ While the libertarian in me cringes at this kind of govt overreach, it’s the precedent. Can some smart legal people explain in an unbias manner the legal const’l issues here?

  5. Three cases in point, but only one with an example. Why am I thinking that the first two cases were included to conceal that what is really behind Jack’s latest fatwa is that “Yes on 8” Californians said “No” to his personal belief system? All that built-up fervor and no church to go to; such is the plight of the Evangelical Atheist. At least you can pray for salvation from the robed gods on the state supreme court.

    “Mob rule”—in the voting booth? Give me a break. Mob rule is “Brother Newsome’s Traveling Sodomy Show” terrorizing churches, threatening businesses, and ruining individuals for having the audacity to hold an opinion that is as old as our nation. They’d best continue to be careful about where they set up their tents.

  6. President Elect Barack Obama, who is a mixed-race african american, is on record as being against redefining marriage as anything other than between a man and a woman.

    Yet Namster has the audacity to smear and besmirch President Elect Obama with ad hominem attacks that Obama is “irrational”, “ignorant”, and “primitive”.

    Jack goes even further and accuses President Elect Obama of engaging in “the civil tyranny of mob rule”.

    I’m struggling to find the words to express my sadness.

    All I can say is that I’m deeply shocked and disappointed to see this unbridled hate speech directed at our first mixed-race african-american President.

    Nothing less than Jack and Nam’s complete apology to the SJI community can begin to repair the damage they’ve done.  But begin we must.

  7. 2. It became a constitutional issue because the State Supreme Court found it to be constitutional issue. They could have decided differently, or decided on different grounds, but their decision was made on constitutional grounds.

    You could argue that the state shouldn’t interfere with marriages at all, and that marriage should be implemented as a civil contract if people want to get married.

    But given that the state does regulate marriages, it should do so on an equitable basis, the same way it should issue drivers licenses, collect income tax and all the many other things it does without being specifically mentioned in the constitution.

  8. 6: Since you’re incapable of properly dissecting my argument:

    – “irrational”: believing gay marriage would be forced on children who were held hostage in classrooms

    – “ignorant”: thinking that a simple vote trumps every bit of our legal foundation

    – “primitive”: viewing homosexuality as a lifestyle choice in a world that obviously loathes such lifestyles

    P.S. Your satire is worse than Foxfan’s.

  9. Ah, Jack, you libs love the initiative process when it fits your ideology, and decry it when it doesn’t.  You always want to have it both ways.

    But, ironically, you can blame a lot of what you decry on the highly liberal Warren Court, and the extremely liberal William O. Douglas, who re-defined “speech” to include action, which includes, by their analysis, spending money to tout a point of view.

    You want “democracy” only as long as it fits it with your world view. Your world view undoubtedly expresses a desire for diversity.  Thus, now that Metro controls this space, we see an add for pinkcupid.com next to your post today,which says “meet your lesbian match”, with an invitation to “Browse photos now”. Diversity, Anti Prop 8 (as I am); but in the end one-sided.  You know what’s best for us,Jack, and anything that intereferes with your view is unacceptable diversity in your view.  You want “democracy” when it suits your belief; but not otherwise.

    But we are not a democracy, Jack.  Ours is a representative constitutional republic.  However, for many, our “representatives” don’t represent us.  So, many decades ago California moved closer to the democracy you so love (when it suits your purposes, but not otherwise, as your post makes perfectly clear).

    Pick a side and stick to it, Jack.  Don’t wobble back and forth based upon the result.

  10. #11

    Don’t waste your time with either Novice or finfan.  They both are losers and are just lashing out from the frustration of their own bigotry and stupidity.

    Let’s just keep pushing them, and the other social conservatives, back under the rocks from which they crawled.

  11. For some issues, initiatives are the only chance at reform.  Proposition 11 is an example.  The legislature was never going to end the current system on their own.  Real reform took an initiative, pushed by a few very wealthy people. 

    You might mention prop 13 in the same way.  It was also a reform of an issue that wasn’t going to get reformed any other way.  I think there still are much more fair ways to go about that reform, but I’ll admit that you weren’t going to find votes for it in the legislature.

  12. Rosegarden Dad (#2) (“I do not see this as a Constitutional issue”):

    Actually, the right to marry has been held to be a “fundamental right” recognized by the United States Constitution.  Loving v. Virginia, 388 U.S. 1 (1967) (sriking down a state law precluding interracial marriage as violative of the Fourteenth Amendment). 

    In my view, there is no defensible basis for distinguishing the fundamental right to marry on the basis of a couple’s racial composition as opposed to the couple’s gender composition. 

    I’d love to hear a non-bigoted explanation of the difference.

  13. Hi Don, thx for the case link. I actually read a number of legal cases, including CA SC in re Marriage Acts, on this issue, and needless to say it’s more complex and thoughtful than the discussion here. I’m not a lawyer, but for anybody who cares about the legal issues, here’s how I see it. CA Supremes struck down initiatives and laws against gay marriage as unconst based on the CA Constitution’s recapitulation of US Const ‘equal protection.’ While marriage is not enumerated as a right in Fed or CA Const, there’s a body of case law which refers to it as a fundamental right.  So the question is: does the right extend to same sex couples? CA Supes said it does based on their 4-3 reading of Calif Const. The Calif Const dorsn’t address the issue directly, it does not define marriage, so the Yes on 8 Crowd offered an intiative to clarify definition of marriage, which in their view is opposite sex union, which would be an amendment to the Constitution. Prop 8 passes. The No on 8 crowd claims that this is such a dramatic revision to the constitution it needs a super majority vote to make the change. The Yes crowd says it’s just a clarifying amendment & hisotrically accurate. So it’s back at the CA Supremed to decide if it’s an amendment or a revision. Little case law to direct their decision.

    I voted No on 8 for equity’s sake, but the question of amendment v revision seems like an interesting legal debate.

  14. Nam Turk, after reading the link provided by #10, I’m shocked that any one person could be so insensitive, crude, racist and absolutely pornographic in a public venue such as SJI.  I’d recommend that you seek professional help, if not for your own good, then for the benefit of your family.

  15. Crying to the courts now just seems childish.

    I, too, voted against Proposition 8. But the smart thing to have done as an opposition movement would have been to argue the measure’s constitutionality BEFORE voting on it, rather than after.

    Even I get a bitter taste in my mouth after discovering that millions of dollars went into a movement that said “VOTE NO ON 8”, followed closely by “ILLEGAL VOTE ON 8”.

  16. “Don’t waste your time with either Novice or finfan.  They both are losers and are just lashing out from the frustration of their own bigotry and stupidity.”

    BlueFox,
    In post #13, are you saying that it’s ok to be an elitist, Asian hating, misogynistic, bigoted lowlife?

    That as long as you’re against Prop 8, everything Nam wrote in post #10 is A-Ok with you?

    Just trying to get a better sense of what passes for being a “liberal” around here.

    Viva Fidel!

  17. JMOC: Ad hominem attacks are essentially all the other side is doing here. Notice how novice is run into a frenzy about Barack Obama (and his race) and something written in college four years ago. It’s more dancing around the actual issue, just like the original Yes on 8 campaign. Once they’ve realized that a simple majority vote isn’t as powerful as they once thought, there’s no backup argument in the tank. It’s all mud-slinging from there.

  18. JVZ (#9),

    If you truly assumed a standard of reader familiarity with the propositions, you either abandoned it when you got to Prop 8, or you felt that someone—maybe a recent returnee from the Space Station, might have missed the special interest group/religious dictates/civil rights/mob rule/equal protection/church-state propaganda that has dominated the airwaves for months, been on display at huge, unruly demonstrations, and has been previously dissected on this site.

    Novice (#9),

    Who would have guessed Nam Turk was a super hero? Any clue on the color of his cape?

    Blue Fox (#13),

    Interesting post… playground type name-calling delivered with all the dignity of Code Pink.

    Don Gagliardi (#16),

    Where does one go to master your unique version of argument and debate, where those of opposing views must first pass through your bigotry-detector? No way you’re old enough to have studied under the master of the stacked-deck inquisition, Joe Stalin, who set his detector to “treason” and declared himself the sole arbiter of its definition.

    As for a defensible basis for distinguishing race from sexual orientation, try this:

    When race is used as a discriminating factor it effectively deprives each and every member of the targeted race equal rights from birth to death. Race is permanent. Contrast that to the life span of someone who might desire to marry someone of the same gender. Does discrimination begin at birth? No. Every child born here has the right, upon adulthood, to participate in politics according to the rules, to marry according to the rules, to drink alcohol according to the rules—even though many will grow-up and decide against doing one of more of those things. Does traditional law prevent a homosexual from marrying? No. Large numbers of homosexuals have always been represented in traditional marriage, and there is every reason to believe that some will continue to do so regardless of any change in the law. Is homosexuality, like race, an always permanent and stable condition? No. Migrating from one sexuality to another during a lifetime is quite common, and huge numbers of today’s practicing homosexuals did not consider themselves homosexuals earlier in their adult lives.

    So let’s tally up the score sheet:

    When the law discriminates by race, the discrimination is explicit, unchanging, and inescapable for all members of that group. But where is the “group” being denied a fundamental right by the traditional definition of marriage? When you have a collection of individuals who may or may not desire a same-sex marriage, who may or may not be homosexual at the moment, who may or may not be certain of their own sexuality or gender, and who all have the right to enter into a traditional marriage, you do not have a stable, uniquely identifiable victim group.

    The only way to conclude that a ban on same-sex marriage deprives anyone a “fundamental right” is to conclude that the ban discriminates against everyone, which takes you head-on into a conflict with the definition of discrimination. The fact is that it is within the realm of possibility that any citizen might, in the future, desire a same-sex union, just as it is possible that someone in a same-sex union today might someday desire to marry someone of the opposite sex. Thus, by rejecting same-sex marriage Californians did not effectively target any identifiable group other than themselves, rendering their decision a simple act of self-rule, not a bigoted act of discrimination.

    (Note to Editor: first posted last night at 8:30)

  19. “When you have a collection of individuals who may or may not desire a same-sex marriage, who may or may not be homosexual at the moment, who may or may not be certain of their own sexuality or gender, and who all have the right to enter into a traditional marriage, you do not have a stable, uniquely identifiable victim group.”

    That’s like saying people have freedom of religion if they’re free to practice a certain one.

  20. Nam Turk,

    That’s nothing at all like what I’m saying. I am not making the argument that homosexuals shouldn’t be free to “practice” their sexuality, what I’m saying is that the state, in defining marriage according to traditional norms, does not discriminate against an identifiable group. The impact of traditional marriage standards may displease or frustrate a minority of the population, but that minority is an impermanent collection of individuals who, at all times, retains the same marriage right as do all Californians, that being the right to marry someone of the opposite sex.

    No separate rule, no identifiable group, no discrimination.

    As for religion, the Founders addressed freedom of religion in the Bill of Rights, leaving issues such as the definition of marriage to the individual states. They, apparently, recognized the difference.

  21. Don #16

    At the risk of being called a bigot, let me try to show the distinction between Prop 8 and the unconstitutional ban on interracial marriage.

    The interracial marriage ban was unconstitutional, because the specific language of the ban prevented a black man from doing what a white man could, i.e., marry a white woman. The same thing applied to a black woman; she was prevented from doing what a white woman could do and marry a white man. That is an obvious unequal treatment between groups, based upon race.

    Prop 8 on the other hand, on its face, is neutral and applies equally to everyone. Any man or woman, gay, straight, black, white, etc. can marry anyone who will have them, provided the other person is of the opposite sex. By the same token, all of these people of various groups are equally precluded from marrying someone of the same sex.

    While you may argue that the impact of Prop 8 is unequal, the specific language of the proposition is not. Everyone is equally bound by it, unlike the language of banning interracial marriage, which on its face, created a distinction and an unequal treatment based solely on race.

    The real issue then is, does the different impact of the language trump its facial neutrality,  To be honest, I am too far removed from my Con Law class to remember whether this has already been decided or not.

  22. Kenny #21-

    The no on 8 folks originally asked the courts to rule on constitutionality months ago, just after 8 qualified for the ballot.  The courts ruled that 8 should proceed, but explicitly stated that opponents could challenge it after it passed.

    I agree that it’s ridiculous to determine constitutionality after the election, but that is the timing that the courts chose.

  23. Novice

    Please stop making direct personal attacks on the site and providing links to material in violation of the SJI comment policy. I have received a number of complaints and have had to edit or moderate a few of your comments. You know what I am talking about.

  24. “No separate rule, no identifiable group, no discrimination.”

    Finfan, I understand what you’re saying in that the law must be clear and concrete. We cannot simply rule on emotion and such.

    However, you’re opening the door to other protected classes being challenged by definition. Race, for example, does not exist in the biological world. Tests comparing mitochondrial DNA found closer links between people of different races (in the social sense) than in those of the same.

    At the same time, the scientific world has yet to find a cause for homosexuality and so they are deemed to simply be as they are born. In that case, it’s much harder to separate race from sexual orientation.

    “The interracial marriage ban was unconstitutional, because the specific language of the ban prevented a black man from doing what a white man could, i.e., marry a white woman.”

    Now that connotes sexual inequality because it says a woman cannot do what a man could, i.e., marry a woman. I believe that’s the transitive property.

  25. Rick DiNapoli (# 31):

    Thanks for not calling me a Stalinist. And I certainly have not suggested you or anyone else here is a bigot.

    I’m happy to discuss my thoughts with you at greater length in person but, in short, I disagree that the “facial neutraility” of Prop 8 renders it legally acceptable or that it is legally distinguishable from previous laws against interracial marriage, which also applied equally to everyone.  No one was allowed to marry someone of a different race.  In fact, all racial groups were treated equally by such laws, and everyone was precluded from marrying outside their own race. Thus, whites, as well as blacks and other racial minorities, bore the brunt equally of such laws, which were in fact facially neutral.

  26. Jack,
    I really enjoyed your column today. I too am deeply disturbed that special interest groups collect so much money in an effort to affect the out come of an issue up for vote.  I am also deeply concerned by issues on the ballot that should not be there. I also question what the point of having laws, courts, and political representatives to handle these issues, if all they are going to do is thrust the dirty work onto the public? What in the hell makes them think that the public has the correct education, the unlimited resources, and the time to figure out these complicated ballot issues? The most frightening aspect for me is that special interest groups are getting away with highjacking our votes, and the media isn’t helping matters with their bias reporting.

  27. Ok, a few thoughts:

    – As much as I believe in our nations right to vote, and believe EVERY citizen should not only be registered, but should vote in every election, it is still scary to me to hear that, for example, some people voted for Ronald Reagan for Governor because “he was cute”.  Ronald Reagan closed all of the State Mental Institutions, like Agnews, resulting in Residential Care Facilities; facilities that put alcoholic and drug addict facilities into your neighborhoods (by the way – the courts routinely refer criminals to these facilities for detox, and Cities have no power to stop them from moving into your neighborhood). But he was “Cute”, so we should have voted for him.  How about the people who voted for Schwarzenegger because they liked his movies?  Given these examples, these are the type of people we are entrusting to resolve issues of equality, quality of life, and other complicated issues that are put on the ballot. 

    -Negative Mail/Television Ads.  Campaigns are notorious for sending out negative mail (Hit Pieces). The money that pours into these campaigns often goes to mail/TV hit pieces.  These mail pieces are not always factual, and routinely distort the truth or outright lie, as several news agencies displayed during the last presidential election by reviewing the truth of the ads and claims by both campaigns.  But these bits of information, however untrue they may be, are used by an unsuspecting public to decide how to vote. 

    Instead of being about the issue and putting a belief out there for the public to decide and debate, the election becomes a competition to win the day, and there is no integrity in that.  The sad part is that negative campaigning works, and until we as citizens demand change, this system and these practices will remain the same.

  28. Christian #26.  She/he voted for the cute guy, so by your standards, that person should not be allowed to vote, because he/she is so obviously vapid, clueless, whatEVER.  A liberal elitist, you are.

  29. JMOC: What does an aversion to superficiality have to do with liberal views? That word is getting really stale around here.

  30. Christian,

    Although it is fashionable to blame Ronald Reagan for closing down the institutions, the budget-cutting closings that occurred under his administration (with the concurrence of the legislature) were simply the final acts in a decade long process of deinstitutionalization that began with the harebrained theories of liberal sociologists and other well-meaning fools in and about the funny farms. In that previous decade some very influential professionals had branded mental illness a “social construct,” attributing its worst manifestations on the diagnosis itself (the so-called “labeling theory”), and arguing that the fist step toward ending mental illness was to close the mental hospitals. Add to that the not-as-advanced-as-was-thought “advances” in psychotropic treatment, and the movement toward outpatient treatment became thunderous.

    The closings that took place under Reagan would not have happened had a powerful component of the mental health community not insisted that patients would benefit from being put back into the community. But blaming Reagan for a disaster brought about by the idiotic theories of liberal professionals has become the official story on college campuses, where there is a conservative demon for every tragedy.

    Two of the most pertinent pieces of legislation affecting the treatment of the mentally ill were signed into law long before Reagan left Hollywood (the “Short-Doyle Act”  of 1957, signed by California Governor Goodwin Knight, and the “Community Mental Health Centers Act,” signed by JFK).

  31. #37 – JMO: 

    It seems that you wish to reduce this to a personal game of namecalling, rather than comment intelligently on the issue.  Grow up.

    My comment was on how people don’t always study the issue and make informed decisions.

  32. Kathleen: You make it sound like the voting public is not able to come up to answers to hard questions. Ouch. By many orders of magnitude there are more smart people outside of gov’t than in it. And the elcted reps are supposed to REPRESENT public interests. I, for one, believe we now have the technology to have straw votes on lots more issues than we could in the 18th Century and should do so. I recommend everybody read The Wisdom of Crowds. I bet we’d do better with MORE direct public input than less. Anybody wanna bet The Bailout Palooza would never have passed a staw vote, nor would the Auto bailout nor would an extended stay in iraq?

  33. Novice, my comment on the screener was regarding the personal nature of what is supposed to be a blog regarding the city of San Jose. If I was worried specifically about protecting that page you felt compelled to link, I’d have deleted it or even not made it public in the first place. Additionally, if you feel the past use of politically incorrect language is more representative of my views than is my voting record, well then I can’t say you seem any more intelligent than you did before.

    BlueFox, I’m well aware of how spiteful these two are, and I commend you for refraining from engaging in this tedious bickering. Perhaps I’ll take your route from now on. Still, I take satisfaction in knowing that the minority is most vocal, so they are obviously not in great company here in the valley.

  34. Although Barack Obama has said that he supports civil unions, he is against gay marriage. In an interview with the Chicago Daily Tribune, Obama said, “I’m a Christian. And so, although I try not to have my religious beliefs dominate or determine my political views on this issue, I do believe that tradition, and my religious beliefs say that marriage is something sanctified between a man and a woman.”

    I’d like to warn all you anti Prop 8 zealots against questioning President Elect Barack Obama on this – else you risk getting keelhauled like Joe the Plumber.

  35. #41- Rosegarden Dad,
    I certainly agree with you on your statement “By many orders of magnitude there are more smart people outside of gov’t than in it.” wink
    I have to respectfully disagree with you on voters ability to make educated, informed decisions when it comes to many of the complicated ballot measures. You practically have to be a lawyer to understand half of them! Each year, I find researching issues consuming more and more of my time. I really don’t think voting on something should be this difficult. This coupled with the incredible amounts of money special interest groups are pouring into campaigns, and bias reporting, well, even the most educated, civil minded voter is facing some incredible odds of getting it right. 
    As to your statement that our elected are supposed to represent us, God how I wish that was true. If you don’t have money, position, or power, the only time they give you the time of day is when they knock on your door asking for your vote, or your money. I’d sure like to see that change!
    I do agree with you that more public input is needed, and if we had it, things would be a lot different. It is a new day Rosegarden Dad, and I just don’t think people care about their communities, our government, or our laws the way they used to. They are too busy trying to pay their bills, raise their children, and hold a job to do much else. They understandably don’t trust politicans, or government any more either. That is why I think so many people bought into voting for new, unknown candidates running and for change.
    As to new technology, I’ll pass. Too many ways to hack into the system and affect the outcome. I’ll take a good old punch card over touch screens any day! wink

  36. #39- Frustrated Finfan,

    Thank you for listing the history on this issue (I am a history buff) – the background you cite is interesting.  I hold no illusions that he did this alone, and the information you cite backs that up. 
    I would, however, still give Reagan the credit I believe he deserves, as he was quoted as saying, “There is no such thing as mental illness”.  Interesting that he died of complications due to Alzheimers… 

    http://www.absoluteastronomy.com/topics/Ronald_Reagan
    (see his involvement in dismantling the public psychiatric hospital system under “Govenor of California”.)

  37. Christian,

    I couldn’t find the Reagan quote you referenced, but that particular sentiment is regularly attributed to Thomas Szasz, one of the leaders in the antipsychiatry movement and the author of “The Myth of Mental Illness.” Here is a brief quote from that paper, one that demonstrates just how reckless was the academic approach in the ‘60s:

    “… the phenomena now called mental illnesses be looked at afresh and more simple, that they be removed from the category of illness, and that they be regarded as the expressions of man’s struggle with the problem of how he should live.”

    http://psychclassics.yorku.ca/Szasz/myth.htm

    Having seen what psychosis and berserk looks like when “expressed” on the street, it is my personal opinion that it is best expressed in a locked facility.

    Criticize Reagan if you must, but it appears that what he did back then is what environmentalists have long demanded of George Bush: that he make policy based on the recommendations of the experts.

  38. From the Prop 22 Supreme Court Case May 15, 08 Dissenting Opinion (opening paragraphs) that gave us Prop 8:

    In my view, Californians should allow our gay and lesbian neighbors to call their unions marriages.  But I, and this court, must acknowledge that a majority of Californians hold a different view, and have explicitly said so by their vote.  This court can overrule a vote of the people only if the Constitution compels us to do so.  Here, the Constitution does not.  THEREFORE, I MUST DISSENT.

    It is important to be clear.  Under California law, domestic partners have “virtually all of the same substantive legal benefits and privileges” available to traditional spouses.  I believe the Constitution requires this as a matter of equal protection.  However, the single question in this case is whether domestic partners have a constitutional right to the name of “marriage”.
    Proposition 22 was enacted only eight years ago.  By a substantial majority the people voted to recognize, as “marriage,” only those unions between a man and a woman.  The majority [of this court] concludes that the voters’ decision to retain the traditional definition of marriage is unconstitutional.  I DISAGREE.

    This was written by California Supreme Court Justice Carol Corrigan – a LESBIAN.

    What’s up with that? 

    She goes on to say that the plaintiffs seek both to join the institution of marriage AND at the same time, alter its definition.  She also states that unions should not be “treated” differently.

    It is a fascinating read, and one that I many Californians would agree with.

    http://www.courtinfo.ca.gov/opinions/archive/S147999.PDF  (page 154)

  39. #38—you missed my point/sarcasm.  Christian proclaims to be a liberal, and thus uber-democratic, but he is in fact an elitist, since in his elitist view, anyone who votes based on the “cute scale” should not be allowed to vote.  Thus, he gets to choose who votes, based upon his criteria.

    Indeed, the founding fathers were wary of superficiality, thus they had an elitist view of who should vote, and they profoundly distrusted the hoi poloi.

    #40—If you consider being called elitist being called a name, oh well.  Remember “sticks and stones” , Christian?  You claim to be some enlightened liberal, but indeed you are just another “my way is the only way, and anyone who disagrees with me must be chastised” person.  Dismount your high horse, Christian, you’re just another form of bigot pretending to be enlightened, and defintely being holier-than-thou. (another name-calling).  Your name does not reflect your attitudes.

  40. Again JMO: 

    It seems that you wish to reduce this to a personal game of name-calling, rather than comment intelligently on the issue.  Grow up.

    My comment was on how people don’t always study the issue and make informed decisions.

    By the way, I’ve never been called an elitist by an elitist, nor have I been called a “bigot pretending to be enlightened, and definitely being holier-than-thou,” by a bigot pretending to be enlightened definitely being holier-than-thou! This is definitely an example of hypocrisy at it’s finest.