California Legislature Violates Separation of Powers, Passes Anti-Prop 8 Resolutions

Yesterday afternoon the Assembly and Senate passed resolutions stating their opposition to Proposition 8.

Both houses of the state legislature are trying to go on record opposing Proposition 8 prior to the California Supreme Court’s hearing of the lawsuits against Proposition 8 on Thursday. In lengthy floor debates, Democrats passed HR 5 (Ammiano) and SR 7 (Leno), which express the opinion of the legislature that Proposition 8 was an unconstitutional revision and must be ruled invalid. However, the legislature’s passage of HR 5 and SR 7 violates the separation of powers doctrine which clearly instructs the legislature to refrain from influencing the judicial process, particularly pending legal cases.

Many Democrats rose to speak out against Proposition 8, even those from districts that clearly voted in favor of Proposition 8. “How arrogant for these lawmakers to express their personal opposition to Proposition 8 and try to persuade the court when their constituents voted in favor of traditional marriage,” stated Karen England, executive director of Capitol Resource Institute.

Assemblyman Van Tran eloquently pointed out that HR 5 is an attempt to “retroactively disenfranchise the votes of over 7 million voters” who passed Proposition 8. He explained that HR 5 is also an “illegal ex parte communication with the court.” Tran went on to chastise the Democrats for seeking to unduly influence the judicial review of Proposition 8 after the people had voted, and the legislature is politicizing the judicial process just a few days before the hearing.

Republican assemblymen Chuck DeVore, Ted Gaines, Joel Anderson, Steve Knight, Mike Villines and Dan Logue all rose to speak out against HR 5 and affirm the people’s right to pass Proposition 8.

Joel Anderson called on this fellow lawmakers to refrain from interpreting the law in the legislature, leaving that constitutional duty to the judicial branch.

[Written by Karen England of the Capitol Resource Institute]

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