Agreement on governments choosing laws to follow

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The Event-News Enterprise published Ms. Elizabeth B. Trieschman’s letter concerning Warren Kusumoto’s Aug. 29 editorial.

I would like to weigh in on the issue Ms. Trieschman touched on (Event-News Enterprise, Sept. 12): “If we let politicians decide what parts of the constitution they can ignore, we will lose all our rights,” she wrote. Perhaps hyperbolic, but I agree. In fact, in holding that the then-mayor of San Franscisco could not unilaterally determine the Constitutionality of laws against marriage equality, the California Supreme Court observed:

“[W]e conclude that prior to the adoption of [California Constitution] article III, section 3.5, it already was established under California law as in the overwhelming majority of other states that a local executive official, charged with a ministerial duty, generally lacks authority to determine that a statute is unconstitutional and on that basis refuse to apply the statute. Because the adoption of article III, section 3.5 plainly did not grant or expand the authority of local executive officials to determine that a statute is unconstitutional and to act in contravention of the statute’s terms on the basis of such a determination, we conclude that the city officials do not possess this authority and that the actions challenged in the present case were unauthorized and invalid.” Lockyear v. San Franscisco, 33 Cal. 4th 1055, 1086 (2004).

Ms. Trieschman and I are, therefore, in good company in agreeing to this principle.

Why then does Mr. Kusumoto hew to the notion that he and Mayor Edgar may flout the law of the State of California under the guise of upholding the Constitution–when plainly he has selected only the parts of Constitutional law he wishes to uphold?

And all of this will be worked out in the Orange County Superior Court–which thus far has rejected the notions advanced by Messrs Kusumoto and Edgar.

Which brings me to the Event News Enterprise’s new “election editorial, letters policy,” which bars political letters in this most political season.

The Event-News has not, to my knowledge, explained why it bars from the print version of the paper political letters. Please re-open this forum to free debate about the issues that concern us all.

Henry J. Josefsberg, Esq.

Los Alamitos

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