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Californians should remove two of the Justices from the California Supreme Court who wrongly ripped Proposition 49, The Overturn Citizens United Act from the November ballot in a precipitous action that has resulted in the disenfranchisement of every voter in California.

Overturn Citizens United Act

California is one of 20 states that have some form of judicial retention election. The justices run unopposed and the question before the voters is simple: vote “yes” to retain, vote “no” to remove.

On August 11th, the California Supreme Court, responding to a petition by The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, and ignoring both the California Constitution and precedent, gave Big Money exactly what it wanted when they ordered the Secretary of State to remove Proposition 49 from the ballot.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye argued against removing Prop 49 from the ballot writing that there was “not… a clear showing that the Legislature lacks authority to place the measure [Prop 49] before the voters, warranting this court taking the extraordinary step of removing the measure from the ballot, thereby disenfranchising the voters.”

The California Constitution, as the Chief Justice also points out, grants the Legislature broad authority to “engage in any activities that are ‘incidental or ancillary to its lawmaking function’… Moreover,” she continues, “undefinedf there is any doubt as to the legislature’s ability to act in any given case, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the Legislature’s action.”

What neither the Chief Justice in her statement, nor Goodwin Liu in his increasingly criticized statement justifying the removal of Prop 49, address are the enumerated rights of the people as set forth in the California Constitution.

The Chief further notes that precedent would direct a more restrained response: “[A]s this court unanimously explained eight years ago [re : Prop 8] it is usually more appropriate to review Constitutional and other challenges to ballot measures after an election rather than to disrupt the electoral process by preventing the exercise of the people’s franchise, in the absence of some clear showing of invalidity.” [Italics hers]

What neither the Chief Justice in her statement, nor Goodwin Liu in his increasingly criticized statement justifying the removal of Prop 49, address are the enumerated rights of the people as set forth in the California Constitution.

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The CA Constitution is clear about the right of the people to engage in the precise activity that was Proposition 49, e.g. a Voter Instruction.

UC Davis Law Professor Vikram David Amar called attention to Article 1, sec. 3 (a) of the California Constitution in his August 29, 2014 article discussing the Supreme Court’s action. That provision states, “[T]he people have the right to instruct their representatives, petition the government for redress of grievances and assemble freely to consult for the common good.”

Justices Kathryn Werdegar and Goodwin Liu ignored precedent, overrode Legislative authority and defied the CA Constitution’s expressed right of the people to directly instruct their representatives in rash obeisance to establishment interests desperate to shut down a California conversation about the corrupting and corrosive influence of money in our political processes.

We have a broad and deepening problem in America with an “activist” judiciary that increasingly finds way to comfort the comfortable. Proposition 49 was California’s opportunity to push back, voice outrage, and empower our legislators to bold action on our behalf in defense of a democracy based on one person, one vote.

It is especially concerning that instead of encouraging a necessary conversation, voters are being “depriv[ed],” again quoting the Chief Justice, “of the ability to express their views at a time when the issue is being hotly debated.”

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The only remaining opportunity on the November 4th ballot for Californians to “express their views” is to vote “no” on Goodwin Liu and Kathryn Werdegar. Their rash, unlawful action warrants our fervent response.

 Michele Sutter
Committee to Remove Werdegar and Liu from the Supreme Court 2014