A 'Scoop' for today's legislators
Re "Patt Morrison Asks / Zev Yaroslavsky: The orchestrator," Column, Sept. 4
I was impressed with Patt Morrison's interview with Zev Yaroslavsky, especially his response to a question about his political hero, Henry "Scoop" Jackson. He praised Jackson's launching of an amendment to encourage Soviet freedom of immigration, saying, "He [Jackson] did it because he thought it was right."
Wouldn't it be great if California legislators followed that path out of the morass the budget is in so frequently? Imagine the respect voters would have for candidates who voted for a budget that was balanced without trickery and mirrors?
If each legislator voted to make things right for a majority of Californians and not just for lobbyists, that would be right. Do they realize how deep a hole their selfishness is putting us all in?
Lou Jacobs Jr.
The state and Proposition 8
Re "Defending Prop. 8," Editorial, Sept. 8
So now The Times publishes an editorial saying that the governor and the attorney general are unethical in not defending a law passed by voters that clearly discriminates against gays and lesbians. If a law were passed saying that blacks and whites cannot marry because of their race, would it still be ethical to defend such a travesty? I don't think so.
For a law to be passed by voters who were coerced by the religious right, it's about time someone defended the rights of the unjustly attacked.
When the governor and attorney general took their oaths, did they promise to "do whatever the people vote to do" or "to uphold and defend" the state and federal Constitutions?
If they are to just answer to the people, then your editorial is right on. But if the people vote in an unconstitutional law, then they have to resist.
It would be clearer if the issue were not clouded by the emotions surrounding "gay." If the issue were race, gender or eye color, it would be obvious what to do, right?
Your editorial concludes that just because the governor and the attorney general "made a legally defensible choice [not to defend the backers of Proposition 8], that doesn't mean they made the ethical one."
Though perhaps well intended, your position is not supportable either ethically or historically.
There is a reason we have three separate branches of government, and each acts independently. The executive branch has no ethical duty to defend a law it (rightly) views as immoral and unconstitutional. If voters enacted an initiative to segregate our schools, would you expect the governor to defend that? Of course not. If it is clear to our elected officials that Proposition 8 is a blatant violation of the equal protection clause (as Judge Vaughn Walker found), why would they be ethically bound to defend it?
I salute both the governor and the attorney general for their moral stand.
Putting aside what one thinks about Proposition 8 itself, why should the attorney general have to spend the time and resources defending a proposition put on the ballot by private interests?
The much better rule would be that a private interest putting a proposition on the ballot has the standing to defend the proposition in a court challenge.
It shouldn't be the attorney general's obligation to defend poorly written or unconstitutional propositions funded by private interests.
The Times should be writing about the danger of making laws though ballot initiatives.
We elect our leaders to protect the public interest, including upholding the constitutions of our state and country. Jerry Brown and Arnold Schwarzenegger know that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional; to support this proposition is to be on the wrong side of the law and of history, just like it once was wrong to support "legal" barriers to marriage and education based on race.
Hooray for stating that the governor and the attorney general should be defending Proposition 8 in the courts as a law of the state.
Proposition 8 deserves to be upheld, because the people of California have made clear that they have not consented to the redefinition of marriage.
Your editorial chastising the governor and the attorney general is the height of editorial ridiculousness. Proposition 8 had its day in open court and lost. End of story.
Our constitutional officers are under no obligation to waste taxpayer dollars in futile challenges to the bitter end like an amateur chess player unable to accept "checkmate in 3."
So everyone go home and be happy.
What happens to walls
Re "The 'Great Wall of America,' " Opinion, Sept. 5
Richard Rodriguez hits a lot of nails on the head, and I'll keep this to counter the thoughtless "those are bad guys, we're good guys" stuff I hear.