Wednesday, May 27, 2009
From the California Supreme Court ruling upholding Proposition 8 (which prohibits gay marriage): (p57)
In the years following the adoption of the initiative power in 1911, numerous constitutional amendments were proposed through the initiative process, and a substantial number of significant changes to the California Constitution were adopted by that means.
It was not until 1948, in the case of McFadden v. Jordan ... that our court had occasion to address the question whether an initiative measure that sought to change the California Constitution could not be submitted to the voters because the measure did not embody a constitutional amendment but instead constituted a constitutional revision.
In McFadden ... the petitioners sought an order prohibiting the Secretary of State from submitting to the voters a proposed initiative amendment to the California Constitution that had garnered the signatures of a sufficient number of qualified electors. The proposed amendment at issue in that case was referred to popularly as the “ham and eggs” initiative, because of the varied subjects it encompassed. In describing the proposition, the court in McFadden observed: “The measure proposes to add to our present Constitution ‘a new Article to be numbered Article XXXII thereof’ and to consist of 12 separate sections (actually in the nature of separate articles) divided into some 208 subsections (actually in the nature of sections) set forth in more than 21,000 words. The Constitution as now cast, with the amendments added since its original adoption as revised in 1879, contains 25 articles divided into some 347 sections expressed in approximately 55,000 words.”
The opinion then went on to summarize the content of each of the measure’s sections, a summary that runs a full six pages in the decision in the Official Reports. ... A simple listing of the titles and a truncated summary of each of the measure’s sections provides a flavor of the varied nature and wide breadth of the proposal.
... Section II, entitled “The California Pension Commission,” named the first five commissioners to serve on the commission and established their salaries.
... Section IV, entitled “Wagering and Gaming,” contained 50 subsections related to that subject.
... Section VI, entitled “Oleomargarine,” provided that oleomargarine could not be sold in California without a license and without payment of a tax or fee.
... Section VIII, entitled “Civic Centers,” declared there to be a civic center at every public school building within the state, and granted every nonprofit and nonsectarian organization in the state formed for “political, economic, educational, or moral activities,” the right to use such a civic center without charge or fee.
... Section XI, entitled “Surface Mining,” contained nine subsections regulating surface mining in the state ...
I like that, an initiative dealing with gambling, surface mining, and oleomargarine
. Unfortunately, as the court notes:
From this description of the measure at issue in McFadden... it is apparent that were such an initiative measure to be proposed today, the proposal undoubtedly would be challenged and held invalid under the “single-subject rule” now embodied in article II, section 8, subdivision (d).
Damn, can't do that no more.
I presume you post this to share amusement.
Otherwise, I don't get your point.
That "single issue" requirement struck down, thankfully, a couple of Tim Eyeman-led initiatives in Washington State.
Obviously a good requirement.
They should up the signature requirement. There are too many initiatives.
It was for amusement. The initiative process, while it has good aspects, seems to have gotten out of control - even with the "single issue" requirement now in place.