The Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court recently declared the state’s government “dysfunctional.”
But Judge Ronald George didn’t bother to tell this to his employers, the people of California. Instead, the judge delivered his speech all the way across the continent, in Massachusetts, at his induction into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
Judge George specifically blames Golden State voters as chief culprits in California’s severe budget woes. While admitting that legislators lack the “political will” to make the tough spending cuts or tax hikes that he believes necessary, George nonetheless says there may have to be “some fundamental reform of the voter Initiative process.”
What the judge doesn’t tell his earnest East Coast audience is that less than 10 percent of amendments to the California constitution come through initiatives.
The voters, he claims, are over-influenced by special interests. But he neglects to mention that the much-loved, much-hated tax-cutting Proposition 13 — and Prop 140, the measure placing term limits on legislators — were both heavily outspent by the state’s most powerful lobbies. Both nevertheless prevailed at the ballot box.
Lastly, his Honor bellyaches that he and fellow jurists are “called upon to resolve legal challenges to voter Initiatives” and sometimes “incur the displeasure of the voting public.”
My heart bleeds for them, of course, but isn’t adjudicating disputes sort of expected of judges?
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.