Top Judge Gives Golden State the ‘D’ Word
Posted on Oct 10, 2009
The chief justice of the California Supreme Court has a choice word for the state’s method of operation: dysfunctional. At a speech in Massachusetts, Ronald M. George chastised the referendum process that prohibits amending or repealing of many types of laws without voter approval.
George added that state’s two-thirds-vote requirement for raising taxes had put California “in a fiscal straitjacket.” —JCL
The New York Times:
In a rare public rebuke of state government and polices delivered by a sitting judge, the chief justice of the California Supreme Court scathingly criticized the state’s reliance on the referendum process, arguing that it has “rendered our state government dysfunctional.”
In remarks prepared for a speech Saturday before the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in Cambridge, Mass., the chief justice, Ronald M. George, denounced the widespread use of the referendum process to change state laws and constitutions. And he derided California as out of control, with voters deciding on everything from how parts of the state budget are spent to how farm animals are managed.
The state is unusual, he said, because it prohibits its Legislature from amending or repealing many types of laws without voter approval, essentially hamstringing that body — and the executive branch.
Ronald M. George, chief justice of the California Supreme Court