Sunday, April 23, 2006

Proposition 71 and the single-subject rule

Some of the challengers to Proposition 71 (which challenge was unsuccessful in Superior Court in Alameda last week) had argued that the very ballot measure that put the issue to voters was flawed and illegally violated the "single-subject" rule. Challengers said ballot language about rules to prevent conflicts of interest, regulate research standards and maintain privacy rights for women who sell their eggs for research illegally added new subjects for voters to consider.

But Judge Sabraw declared otherwise, saying challengers "have not demonstrated that any of the above is not functionally related or germane to stem cell research and funding, thus violating the single-subject rule."

If the challengers' theory were successful on appeal, all the self-implementing features of Proposition 71 would not matter, because what was on the ballot before voters wasn't proper.

Nevertheless, it remains true as Finley Peter Dunne's fictional bartender, Martin T. Dooley suggested, that the Supreme Court follows the election returns. The voters of California likely will get Proposition 71, but in ten years it will be apparent that it was not what they thought they were voting for.


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