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Bruce Bialosky

The Devastating Effect of the Prop 8 Ruling

I hate to write columns like this because I am an optimist to my core.  But the ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court on Proposition 8 has destroyed the last vestige of hope for Republicans in the state of California.  If you felt we were in the hinterlands before then you would have to conclude we are now on the dark side of the moon.

First, let me say I am not commenting here on fact that gay marriage has become the law of California by this ruling.  I am also not pointing fingers at the U. S. Supreme Court for taking the position that the plaintiffs in the case did not have standing to make the argument, though I am surprised they took the case in the first place if they felt the plaintiffs had no right to argue the case.  I will also state that I am exceedingly unhappy that the vote of the people on something that you have to contrive to conceive as an equal rights matter was overturned.  If the people in support of gay marriage wanted to overturn the will of the people on this matter, they should have taken it back to them and pled their case.  Once again a few people who think they know better than the average resident of California have told us how to live our lives.

It does not take a sharp tool to figure out that that Republicans and Conservatives are in a bleak status in California.  We hold no statewide offices, we have no significant candidates to win back those offices in 2014, and we are almost totally without say in the state legislature.  But California offers people outside of the political mainstream the opportunity to place on the ballot a policy regarding how we run our state and have it put into effect – that is called our initiative process.  Isn’t that exactly what happened in 1978 with a previously-little-known person named Howard Jarvis?

Flash back to those days when the Governor and the Attorney General would never have dreamt of just saying we are not in support of this initiative so we are not going to represent the people of California in court to defend its position as we were elected to do.  That is because back then this was a state with a two-party system.  The people in office understood that.  And even though Jerry Brown was Governor, the Attorney General at the time was Evelle Younger who was followed by George Deukmejian, both of whom were Republicans.  They would never have gone along with Brown’s attempt to legally dismantle then not represent the people of California in defense of their vote.

But times have changed.  For example, Senator Harry Reid became majority leader of the U.S. Senate in 2007.  He did not like George W. Bush or his appointments so he tried a shenanigan that no one had previously tried.  People warned him that Republicans would someday take over and use the same thing against the Democrats, but he stupidly went ahead.  Reid did not want any recess appointments by Bush so when Congress was on break he had someone come to the U.S. Senate and open a pro forma session for five minutes and split.  This stopped Bush from making recess appointments.  When Obama became President he wanted to make recess appointments, but Republicans held similar pro forma sessions.  Obama appointed people anyway who were later overturned as appointments by the court along with all the work they have done.  His actions came back to bite Reid in the derriere.

But Jerry Brown and Kamala Harris don’t have the same fear because they have no concern that Republicans will make them suffer for their decision to not represent the people of California, which is what they were elected to do whether they like it or not.  Ms. Harris’ silly statement that she had no obligation to defend a law that was not constitutional was just that – silly.  At no point during the process prior to the vote on Prop 8 was it declared unconstitutional.  She just did not like the law so she threw a temper tantrum and did not do her job.  But what can be done other than vote her out of office, and the chances of that happening are nil.

Picture yourself as a dedicated Republican who sees a wrong in our state of California.  You want to correct that wrong and you know that you cannot get that passed by the legislature.  You decide you are going to sponsor an initiative.  You look at the time, the immense cost and the immense complications to get an initiative on the ballot and passed.  Then you see that if some yahoo decides to hire an attorney and forum shops until he finds a yahoo judge who overturns the proposition on some far-fetched legal point, you are sunk.  If Ms. Harris or her successor does not like your initiative, then you have just spent two years or more of your life and millions of dollars for naught.  Who in their right mind would take on such a quixotic endeavor?

Jon Coupal of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association has stated he wants to float an initiative that would give residents of the state standing to bring a case in support of an initiative to the courts.  That would certainly fix the problem (if legal), but that is a tall hurdle to jump.  Short of accomplishing that, Republicans are now totally and completely emasculated in California.  Back up the moving vans: Texas here we come.