You may have heard that an initiative to split California into three states had qualified for the November ballot. It is the brainchild of Tim Draper, one of the founders of Netflix, and a couple other successful tech startups before that. Whether the idea could actually happen would require action from Congress, and I doubt there is much appetite to expand the number of U.S. Senators by four, regardless of which party one thinks might capture them. (Best guess is that it would be a wash: two might be GOP and two might be Democrats, for no next change in the existing partisan balance of the Senate.)
But today the California Supreme Court ruled that the initiative is unconstitutional and has struck it from the ballot. Normally the California high court never rules on the constitutionality of an initiative until after it passes. From the news account they may be correct that the initiative is not harmonious with California’s Constitution, but this has seldom stopped the courts before from blessing something liberals want. I’ll leave for the legal eagles to speculate on whether this might be appealed to the federal courts, though I doubt federal courts would want to rule on a state measure like this, though on the surface it does seem like it might present a federal question.
More interesting is who brought the suit to the Supreme Court and why. See if you can divine a motive here:
Howard Penn, executive director of the Planning and Conservation League, lead plaintiff in the lawsuit, said Prop. 9 would have caused “chaos in our public services including safeguarding our environment … all to satisfy the whims of one billionaire.”
Surprise, surprise—liberals are against it! Ah yes, it all makes sense now. If California was split into three new states, it might break the stranglehold environmentalists have over water use and development. Can’t have that. But environmentalist opposition isn’t the only tell:
Legal groups representing low-income Californians also argued that the three new states, while relatively equal in population, would be financially unequal — the new Northern California would have far more revenue available from income, sales and property taxes, and less need for spending on public assistance, than the other two new states.
“California’s state government now equalizes these disparities based on need, not geography,” Bob Wolfe, attorney for Public Counsel and the Western Center on Law and Poverty, told the court. “Once the state is divided, such a needs-based allocation no longer would be possible.”
The left doesn’t even dress up their will to power any more.
California doesn’t need to be divided anyway. It’s going to fall apart all on its own. And then the San Andreas Fault will eventually divide up the state whether the Western Center on Law and Poverty wants it to or not.