Understanding The Initiative Process
The People's Initiative Processby 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 require."
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 Process!
I am Ron Branson, and that is my opinion.