Attorney general candidate Tom Harman has taken a slap at the man he would replace with a piece of legislation that would automatically grant initiative proponents the right to defend any legal challenge to their ballot measures.
Harman’s Senate Bill is clearly aimed at incumbent Attorney General Jerry Brown, who initially said that as California’s top lawyer he would defend Proposition 8 from post-election lawsuits even thought he personally opposed the measure. Now, however, Brown is asking the state Supreme Court to find the gay marriage ban unconstitutional.
This is totally not at all about currying favor with his base. After the jump.
“Californians deserve unbiased, effective advocates in court proceedings,” Harman, an Orange County Republican, said in a prepared statement. “SB 617 will guarantee that California voters always have the ability to defend their decisions, even in the instance where an attorney general personally disagrees with that decision.”
The Supreme Court allowed the official proponents of Prop 8 to intervene. Their attorney, Kenneth Starr, will lead efforts to argue that the initiative is a constitutional amendment, not an improper revision.
It’s hard to imagine that, in any case similar to this, a judge wouldn’t allow the initiative proponents to lead the defense. But Harman says he just wants to make sure.
“This reform is vital to maintaining the integrity of California’s democratic initiative process,” Harman said.
In related news, both houses of the Legislature today approved non-binding resolutions expressing lawmakers’ opposition to Prop 8. Because resolutions do not require the governor’s signature, opposition to the initiative automatically becomes the Legislature’s “official position.”
— Cheryl Miller