Jim Campbell

Unbelievable. The only word to describe the efforts of California Attorney General Jerry Brown to muzzle the voice and votes of the more than seven million Californians who voted in favor of Proposition 8.

As the State’s chief law enforcement officer, Mr. Brown has sworn to represent the people and defend their will as expressed in the state constitution, which includes Proposition 8. Yet, he has brazenly ignored that duty and turned his back on the people who elected him, choosing instead to serve as a mouthpiece for the extreme demands of the homosexual agenda.

On Friday, Mr. Brown submitted a brief urging the California Supreme Court to strike down Proposition 8. By doing so, the people’s spokesperson has not only refused to speak for them; he has acted in outright defiance of their will, demanding that the Court take a jackhammer to the people’s broad power to amend their constitution through voter initiatives.

Instead of speaking on the people’s behalf, Mr. Brown debases their role in California’s constitutional scheme. Under both the federal and California constitutions, all government power ultimately rests in the people; thus, the people reign supreme over their government.

One of the drafters of the federal constitution, James Wilson, recognized that, as the ultimate source of government power, the people “may change the constitution whenever and however they please.” In other words, just as the people giveth power to the government, the people may taketh away. The federal constitution permits amendments only through the legislative branch, but Californians, have reserved to themselves the power to change their constitution directly through voter initiatives.

Californians reserved this voter initiative power because, they distrusted government officials – politicians and judges alike – and wanted to affirm “the fundamental idea that this government belongs to . . . the people.” This initiative power acts as a “safeguard,” enabling the people to override the improvident (or inadequate) exercise of government authority.

The California constitution does not express skepticism or, worse, outright disdain for the people or the “will of the majority.” It demonstrates reverence for them as the ultimate source of governmental power – and distrust for government officials, a distrust justified by the actions of Mr. Brown.

Jim Campbell

Jim Campbell is legal counsel with Alliance Defending Freedom, an alliance-building, non-profit legal organization that has defended marriage and religious liberty in courts throughout the U.S.