We know that “progressives” favor what they call “living constitutions,” governing documents that change easily to accommodate the changing tastes of voters. Sometimes they rely on judges to “breathe life” into the Constitution, as the Supreme Court did in 1965’s famous Griswold v. Connecticut.
But some also seem to be rooting for dead constitutions. On Thursday, an NPR interviewer had an interesting idea: “I have to say that when I talk to friends across the country, they look at this system in California and they say: well, why don’t they just throw out this [state] constitution that requires voters to approve everything that they do?” Jeremy Hobson asked Governor Jerry Brown (D).
But Brown seemed to realize he’s stuck living under the document that’s been “perfected” by his progressive predecessors.
“Why don’t we just throw out this constitution?” Brown answered. “They’ve done that in a number of countries, it’s called a coup d’état. Look, this is a democracy, you can find fault with it but compared to the paralysis in Washington, at least we have an ultimate arbiter, which are the people themselves.”
Brown and his fellow progressives are being hobbled by the very system they designed. It will be interesting to see how that plays out.