Chief Justice Ron George: State Government Dysfunctional

The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court can see the mess in front of his face just as everybody else can:

California Chief Justice Ronald M. George, in a speech prepared for the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, said the ease by which Californians can pass new laws at the ballot box has “rendered our state government dysfunctional.”

George noted that in November, voters passed initiatives to regulate the confinement of fowl in coops and passed Proposition 8, which overturned part of a California Supreme Court ruling that gave gays and lesbians the right to marry.

“Chickens gained valuable rights in California on the same day that gay men and lesbians lost them,” George said.

He focuses on the initiative system, perhaps because it pushed him from a champion of civil rights, in the original marriage decision, to a judge who stood in the way of fundamental rights.  You can’t blame him for singling the initiative process out, and it’s hard to argue that the initiative system has ever lived up to the dreams that Hiram Johnson had for it.  But, as we know, there’s far more wrong with the system than just the initiative process.

5 thoughts on “Chief Justice Ron George: State Government Dysfunctional”

  1. to judge the constitutionality of an initiative stripping citizens of their rights. this strikes me as a bit of rhetorical CYA.

  2.   You’re missing the most important thing–George came out and said the 2/3rds rule was bonkers.

  3. Ron George voted with the majority to uphold Prop 8 and embraced the Starr Doctrine, that voters can do whatever the hell they please as long as it gets 50%+1 on election day.

    He’s blaming the initiative process, which is surely broken, because he wants to deflect attention from the fact that his court abdicated their duties of protecting both Californians and their Constitution from attack.

  4. Just my .02, but I thought the Justice’s majority opinion upholding same sex marriages, consistent with our Constitution’s right to privacy, right to form a family and right to equal protection under the law was well supported.  The question on upholding Prop 8 – the second case, was disapointing, but the question was about the process of the voter initiative and was not a question about equal protection.  As such, his comments about the initiative process seem consistent with his well reasoned opinion regarding the violation of equal protection that is the result of limiting marriage to opposite sex individuals.  Additionally, it paints in stark relief, the opposition to marriage equality as willing to discriminate.  I may be wrong in presuming that you read his majority opinion on the prior case, perhaps a re-read would help.  

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