Democracy Just Died a Painful Death in California

Well, it sure looks like California is beyond saving now. 

In a stunning anti-democratic move, the California Supreme Court ruled on Thursday to block an anti-tax initiative from appearing on the ballot.


This initiative, known as the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act, was backed by the business community and sought to make it more difficult to increase taxes in California. Among other things, it would have required the legislature to obtain voter approval for any new or increased state taxes. There’s nothing groundbreaking about it, as voters in other states have used the ballot box to approve or deny tax initiatives before. But Gavin Newsom and the Democrat-controlled legislature were having none of it and filed a lawsuit to block the measure last fall, claiming that the initiative represented an illegal effort to amend the California Constitution and would hinder critical government operations.

And the California Supreme Court unanimously sided with Newsom.

The Los Angeles Times has more:

Justice Goodwin Liu, who authored the decision for the unanimous court, wrote that the changes proposed by the measure “would substantially alter our basic plan of government,” and could only be enacted through a revision to the state’s constitution.

The rare ruling by the state’s highest court to remove an otherwise qualifying ballot measure comes just days before ballots must be finalized. It marks a major last-minute victory for Democratic leaders and labor unions, which had warned the measure would hamstring good governance in favor of corporations if passed.

State leaders — who brought the lawsuit challenging the measure — had also argued the measure usurped their authority.


“We are grateful the California Supreme Court unanimously removed this unconstitutional measure from the ballot,” Izzy Gardon, a spokesperson for Gov. Gavin Newsom, said in a brief statement. “The Governor believes the initiative process is a sacred part of our democracy, but as the Court’s decision affirmed today, that process does not allow for an illegal constitutional revision.”

Republican Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, however, was “disgusted” with the ruling, and accused the court of succumbing to political pressure.

“The court has failed in its duty to the people of California and our democratic system and instead simply caved to pressure from the governor and legislative Democrats,” he said.

Similarly, Sen. Brian Dahle (R-Bieber) criticized the decision as a “slap in the face” to citizens and accused the court’s partisan justices of interfering with the initiative process meant to safeguard the public’s voice, while catering to those who repeatedly seek to increase taxes.

In a joint statement, several major backers of the measure — Rob Lapsley, president of the California Business Roundtable, Jon Coupal, president of the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association and Matthew Hargrove, president and CEO of the California Business Properties Association — accused the high court of putting “politics ahead of the Constitution.”

They said Newsom had “effectively erased the voice” of more than a million voters who had signed the petition to put the measure on ballots.

California Senate Republicans who had backed the measure denounced the decision as a partisan one from a liberal court.


The California Supreme Court effectively silenced the voices of the voters. Can you appreciate how dangerous that is? We’ve already seen efforts by leftist groups to remove candidates from the ballot, including Donald Trump, for bogus reasons, Now, inconvenient ballot initiatives that would hold political leaders more accountable to the voters are being blocked by the courts in California. 

If you live in California, you may want to move sooner rather than later.

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