Jerry Brown: First in the hearts of Prop. 209's foes?


Author: Joshua Thompson

"We're Number One!" His aides probably aren't pumping foam fingers in the air, but California Attorney General Jerry Brown just landed in top place on a list of, ahem, distinction: He's ranked as the "worst" of America's 50 state attorneys general, in a new report by the Competitive Enterprise Institute.

The free-market-oriented CEI leads off by targeting Brown's attempt to impose his regulatory vision on the economy through lawsuits based on "vague claims of environmental harm."   Without weighing in on the CEI ranking, it's worth noting that PLF has been trying to bend Brown's ear on the frivolous litigation issue since he started as AG.   

No. 1 friend of quotas?

CEI also notes how Brown isn't always consistent or persistent in discharging a key duty: defending state laws and the California Constitution against challenge.  This is not news to followers of PLF's fight to enforce Proposition 209, the Constitution's voter-enacted ban on race- and sex-based preferences and discrimination in government.   

Not only is California's attorney general not with us in our defense of this constitutional mandate for colorblind equal rights, he is actively against us.

In a brief to the California Supreme Court last year, Brown claimed that Prop. 209 violates the U.S. Constitution to the extent it goes beyond the federal Equal Protection Clause in outlawing preferences and discrimination.   

Of course, the whole point of Prop. 209 is to provide more protection than the U.S. Supreme Court's rulings under the Equal Protection Clause, so Brown was effectively calling for the state Supreme Court to void Prop. 209, or render it a nullity.   (As PLF's reply to Brown's brief noted, he was presenting arguments that have already been rejected by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and that directly contradict what the California AG's office itself had previously advanced, in opposing a challenge to Prop. 209 back in 1996.)

(By the way, Brown's assault on Prop. 209 was filed in Coral Construction v. San Francisco, a PLF lawsuit against San Francisco’s race-based quotas in public-works contracts.   Oral argumentwas held at the California Supreme Court on May 4 of this year, and the justices should be announcing a decision within the next few weeks.)

Bottom line: Whether Jerry Brown is top banana in anything substantive for good or ill, he should be on your honor's list if you favor government quotas based on, and a society arranged and balkanized by, skin color and ethnic ancestry.