Tuesday, June 02, 2009

California's Crisis

At the LSA, I attended the "Many Faces of Constitutionalism" panel, for which Sandy Levinson was the chair/discussant. Among his remarks about the short life of most constitutions (the average is 18 years, I believe, correct me in the comments) is that some constitutions render states ungovernable, and thus should be rebooted. He used California as such an example, as my home state requires 2/3 majority to pass a budget, and has (what I think, you may disagree) ridiculous recall/referendum provisions that make it insanely easy to pass stupid laws and amend the state constitition by popular vote. He said that not a single federal dollar should go to California until it holds a constitutional convention. In light of our budget crisis and the emergency election we just had, I'm inclined to agree.

So why is California so messed up? How did we get this way?

Louis Warren, a history professor at UC Davis and guest blogger at Edge of the American West, tells the story of my baffling, beleaguered state in two posts:

1. How we got here.

2. California's crisis and the collapse of the Republican party.

These are definitely worth reading.