Oct 5, 2010

Get lost, Washington

A guy really hates to say anything nice about California, but since I'm about to praise Montana and Arizona again, it would be gauche to decline a nod of approval to the Golden Bear.

Proposition 19  could pass, sending California before the federal long robes, just like Montana with its Firearms Freedom Act and Arizona, where citizens decided to take it on themselves to repair the massive federal immigration cockup.

The strictly legal points in all three cases seem to center on the Constitution's supremacy clause. Morally they test our cherished cultural myth that laws require the consent of the governed, not to mention the abuse to which malum   prohibitum   statutes are  prone.

Malum prohibitum?  Wrong because there's a law against it, period.  In 1961, for instance, Sammy Davis Junior married May Britt. If he had done so in Virginia both he and Britt would  have been felons, guilty of miscegenation.

Malum in se laws are what we're after. They  prohibit acts which are evil in and of themselves, like stealing  a Twinkie from your buddy's lunch box or auctioning off a senate seat in Illinois.

In one way or another, the Arizona, California,  and Montana laws, reflect a popular revolt against the mala prohibita which is too often a simple lust for federal political control of the citizenry or of local jurisdictions.

I don't know how any of the three issues will be resolved, of course.  I suspect the firearms freedom acts will fail and that the courts will  gut Arizona's immigration control drive. The California initiative to legalize personal marijuana use for adults is said to be a dead heat this week. If it happens to pass, I'd give it at least a slim chance of judicial approval.

But the results are less interesting that the grass-roots pressure. Libertarian thought -- even among those who couldn't define "libertarian"  -- seems to have come a long way.

EDIT: An Ipso poll just reported has Proposition 19 down, 53-43.


DirtCrashr said...

The problem with CA prop. 19 is it was written by stoners, or legislators or stoned legislators (it's common) and goes too far and beyond Medical toe-in-the-door allowances. Per my man Tom McClintock, they overreach by insisting that, "no person shall be discriminated against or denied any right or privilege" for pot use. That invites a lawsuit any and every time an employer tries to require a drug test.

Jim said...

I just read the whole proposition, and you're right. It had to have been written by a commitee in a state of collective altered consciousness. It does allow at least some current drug testing policies to continue, but the section you quote is important and could be a killer.

Legalization must conform to the principle that a private employer has the right to require drug testing -- or about anyting else the business thinks is necessary to do the job.

DirtCrashr said...

Typical, I bet half the legislators are stoners, and they will get their act together eventually and write something - or have a lobbyist write it for them.