California’s Road to Pure Democracy and Away from Republican Governance

California’s Road to Pure Democracy and Away from Republican Governance

 

There are several court decisions and amendments to the California constitution that have had over the years the net effect to move California toward a complete and full democracy and away from a republican form of government.  The pattern and the timing of these events are by design.

 

1964 Reynolds v. Sims

In the Reynolds v Sims case the impact on a states basic soverign structure known as a “county” was all but destroyed.

 

State senators represented soverign counties in their respective states just as U.S. Senators represent the soverign area known as the state they represent in the U.S. Senate. Note Constitutional Sheriffs and district attorneys were still allowed to remain as soverigns in their respective counties.   

 

In Reynolds v Sims the court decided to make state senators represent by population in the same way as the state assembly or house representatives represent by populations.

 

In California there are only 40 State Senators. The net result in California today is that there are 23 State Senators in L.A., Orange, Riverside, San Bernardino and San Diego counties.  Senate District 1 in rural Northern California represent 11 counties.  Nine whole counties and 2 partial counties.  It is impossible for 1 State Senator to represent the intersts of all 11 counties.

 

Comments from Wikipedia

“In a majority opinion joined by five other justices, Chief Justice Earl Warren ruled that the Fourteenth Amendment‘s Equal Protection Clause requires states to establish state legislative electoral districts roughly equal in population. Warren held that “legislators represent people, not trees or acres. Legislators are elected by voters, not farms or cities or economic interests.” In his dissenting opinion, Associate Justice John Marshall Harlan II argued that the Equal Protection Clause was not designed to apply to voting rights. The decision had a major impact on state legislatures, as many states had to change their system of representation.

 

Since the ruling applied different representation rules to the states than was applicable to the federal government, Reynolds v. Sims set off a legislative firestorm across the country. Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois led a fight to pass a constitutional amendment allowing legislative districts based on land area, similar to the United States Senate.[8] He warned that:

 

[T]he forces of our national life are not brought to bear on public questions solely in proportion to the weight of numbers. If they were, the 6 million citizens of the Chicago area would hold sway in the Illinois Legislature without consideration of the problems of their 4 million fellows who are scattered in 100 other counties. Under the Court’s new decree, California could be dominated by Los Angeles and San Francisco; Michigan by Detroit”.

 

1966 California Proposition 1A, the “Constitutional Revision Amendment” 1A

This is the “professional” legislative proposition.  The legislature which was originally bound to meet by the 1879 California constitution every 2 years and for 60 days duration was ultimately changed by Proposition 1A in 1966 to:

 

“Under Proposition 1A, the Legislature would meet in annual general sessions, unlimited as to duration and unlimited as to subjects that could be considered”.

“ many other changes, Proposition 1A changed the California State Legislature from a part-time legislature to a full-time legislature, making it one of seven states in the country with a full-time legislature”.

Today California’s legislature meets every year for 11 months with no restrictions.

 

From BALLOTPEDIA

Analysis

An analysis of Proposition 1A prepared by the California Legislative Analyst’s Office noted that Proposition 1A proposed revisions to parts of the California Constitution dealing with “the separation of powers and with the legislative, executive, and judicial departments of state government.” The LAO elaborated on the major changes by branch of government.

Legislative

  • Under Proposition 1A, the Legislature would meet in annual general sessions, unlimited as to duration and unlimited as to subjects that could be considered. This is in contrast to the situation at the time of the vote, when the legislature met in general session, at which all subjects can be considered, in odd-numbered years. It met in budget sessions, at which only fiscal matters could be considered, in even-numbered years. Both sessions were of limited duration.

1990 California Term Limits, Proposition 140

In Proposition 140 it states: “Persons elected or appointed after November 5,1990, holding offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State. Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board of Equalization members, and State Senators, limited to two terms;….”

 

Note: There was one governor who had already had two terms in office and was still eligible by Proposition 140 for two more full terms since he finished his second term in office in 1983.  That was Jerry Brown who became governor in 2011 for eight more years.

 

From BALLOTPEDIA

“Official Title and Summary:

LIMITS  TERMS OF OFFICE, LEGISLATORS’

RETIREMENT, LEGISLATIVE OPERATING COSTS.

INITIATIVE CONSTITUTIONAL AMENDMENT

• Persons elected or appointed after November 5,1990, holding offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor,

Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State. Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board

of Equalization members, and State Senators, limited to two terms; members of the Assembly limited to

three terms.

• Requires legislators elected or serving after November 1, 1990, to participate in federal Social Security

program; precludes accrual of other pension and retirement benefits resulting from legislative service,

except vested rights.

• Limits expenditures of Legislature for compensation and operating costs and equipment, to specified amount”.

 

2008 California Proposition 11, Creation of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission

Proposition 11 was supported by the California GOP and funded by several members of the Republican Party.

 

From BALLOTPEDIA

Proposition 11 authorized the creation of the California Citizens Redistricting Commission.[1]

Proposition 11 changes the process that is undertaken once every ten years of setting (which sometimes means re-drawing) the geographic boundaries of the state’s 120 legislative districts and four Board of Equalization districts. Previously, the task of setting these boundaries fell to the California State Legislature itself. Because Proposition 11 passed, that task will instead be given to a new, 14-member commission.

 

2010 California Proposition 14, Top-Two Primaries Amendment

Preceeded by the 1964 Reynolds v Sims decision , 1966 Propositon 1A, 1990 Prosition 140, 2008 Proposition 11 and 2010 Proposition 20 it is clear the net effect along with Proposition 14 is the two party political system in California has been all but eliminated. 

Proposition 14 established a top-two primary system in California. A top-two primary is a type of primary election in which all candidates are listed on the same primary ballot. The top two vote-getters, regardless of their partisan affiliations, advance to the general election.[1]

The system took effect on January 1, 2011, and was used for the first time in a special election for State Senate District 17 and State Senate District 28 on February 15, 2011.

 

United States Constitution Article IV Section 4

“The United States shall guarantee to every state in this union a republican form of government, and shall protect each of them against invasion; and on application of the legislature, or of the executive (when the legislature cannot be convened) against domestic violence.”

 

United States Constitution Article VI

This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.

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