The People's Initiative Process
by Ron Branson
The ignorance of the American public goes beyond profound. Every
constitutional safeguard established by the People, if left to
government, would be dissolved in the name of public good. First
off, let us consider the nature of initiatives, where they come
from, and what their purpose is.
To this day we faithfully observe the Fourth of July otherwise
known as the Declaration of Independence. Contrary to modern
perception, the Fourth of July is not about firecrackers. It is
about independence from government meddling with our
inherent unalienable rights received from the Almighty, and not
from legislators. Familiar are the words, "We hold these truths to
be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are
endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that
among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. That
to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men,
deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that
whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends,
it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to
institute new government..."
This is the very foundation of our Initiative Process, which is
for the People to override all governments when they deem that the
government has become destructive of their pursuit of life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. This, of course, means that
at no time, under any circumstances, shall government interfere
with, or define in what way, or in what manner the People may, or
shall revolt. So strong is this principle that our Founding
Fathers instituted this principle in the very First Amendment to
the United States, of which they would not sign without such
provision. Therein it states in appropriate part, "Congress shall
make no law respecting ... the right of the People ... to petition
the government for a redress of grievances."
For those of you who have difficulty understanding this mandate, I
ask, what part of NO do you not understand? Now if Congress is
forbidden by the very instrument they have sworn to uphold and to
defend from tampering or limiting in any manner with the People's
right to seek redress of grievances, can it be understood that
lower down the ranks of government, such as State Legislatures,
may interfere, or tamper with such right of the People?
Please note that the Constitution sets forth no terms or
qualifications upon how, when, or where the People my seek such
redress of grievances. It is absolutely unconditional. In fact, if
government wanted to pass legislation regarding such right, the
Constitution says NO! Absolutely NO Law,
whether the intention is good or bad, or is for some seemly
innocent objective! It is simple 'NO!"
Okay, so now let us zero in on the California Initiative Process.
The California Constitution, Article I, Sec. 1, clearly sets
forth, "All political power is inherent in the People. Government
is instituted for their protection, security, and benefit, and
they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may
The foundational words are, "All," "Power," "Inherent," and
"People." So we see the plenary word "ALL." All never means
"some." It is all inclusive. Now we come to the subject, "POWER."
Now we see the means, "INHERENT." It is not derived by
legislation, or by any man, but is derived solely and purely by
nature of being a person. And lastly, we see the object,
"PEOPLE." If this principle is deemed to be true, and all public
servants swear to uphold this principle, then how much political
power is inherent in government? Absolutely NOTHING! Zero! Zilch!
So the political scoreboard is Zero for the government vs.
Unlimited for the People!
If you are getting the impression that the Initiative Process has
nothing to do with government, then you are to be
congratulated for your intelligence. But wait a minute. We are
being told that it is powerful monied interest that has taken hold
of the People's Initiative Process, and this is the very reason
why the government must step in and regulate the Initiative
Process to protect against abuse.
Here is a revelation, if it has not dawned upon you. Every
election cycle we see approximately 80% of all initiatives placed
upon the California ballot are placed there by the legislature.
But initiatives are not for governments, but are limited solely to
the People when they deem it necessary to alter or to reform
their government. We the People have loaned to our public servants
the privilege of proposing and passing laws by legislation, and we
have carefully constructed the process and procedures by which
those laws are passed. First is the proposal of the law to be
passed, then the committees, followed by revisions, and then a
vote by our state representatives. Then it must go to the Senate.
Then they vote on it, and if passed, it must then go to the
governor for his approval or veto. This is how all laws must be
processed by the legislators.
So how does the above processes of passing laws figure into the
Initiative Process? They don't. Not in the least! An initiative
placed upon the ballot by the legislature cheats everyone of a
republican form of government, to which all citizens are
constitutionally entitled. "The United States shall guarantee to
every state in this union a republican form of government..." A
republican form of government has nothing to do with a political
party, but rather is a representative government. Every time the
legislature places an initiative upon the ballot for a vote, it
runs the risk of depriving many representatives of a Republican
form of government of the right to vote upon that issue.
Now for those who might say, my representative can vote on it when
he goes to the polls and votes. You totally misunderstand what a
representative form of government is. If your representative's
vote at the polls constituted a republican form of government,
then everyone who goes to the polls and votes are equally a
representative. There is a difference between your representative
voting among 80 representatives, and a representative being only
one vote among 13 million voters. One is a Republican form of
government, and the other a direct democracy. The former is
limited only to elected representatives, and the other is limited
to the People. All political power is inherent in only one of
them, and that one is not the legislature.
It could be rightly argued that every Initiative placed upon the
ballot by the legislature in all past history is constitutionally
null and void, and must be reversed for failure to provide you and
me of a republican form of government guaranteed to us by Article
IV, Sec. 4 of the United States Constitution. There can be no
short cuts! Perhaps should JAIL4judges successfully becomes an
Amendment to one of our state's Constitutions, a challenge can be
leveled by the People to reverse every past Initiative Measure
passed by the legislature by placing such Measure upon the ballot
in violation of Article IV, Sec. 4 of the U.S. Constitution, which
is the supreme law of the land. One can just imagine the
implication of every government sponsored Initiative being
revoked because they were put there in violation of the federal
Constitution. The net result would be, the cost of passing
People's Initiatives would be severely be reduced, as they would
no longer compete with government sponsored Initiatives, which are
really our own money taxed away from us to compete with own
Initiatives. Folks, we are being subtly doped by our government.
For reason of all the above authorities, I say the California
Legislature must keep their dirty mitts off our Initiative
I am Ron Branson, and that is my opinion.