California Roundup: Climate Clods, High-Living Deadbeats, Gay Marriage and More


* Reactions to the throwing out of Proposition 8: It's rational! It's irrational! At FlashReport, the Claremont Institute's John Eastman objects that U.S. District Chief Judge Vaughn R. Walker, who yesterday struck down the 2008 ballot initiative banning same-sex marriage, is a homosexual of the opposite persuasion who prefers the company of men and moreover lives in San Francisco. Is Walker's argument going to hold water? Read the highlights, which contain plenty of zingers and broad statements, but not a lot of legal-sounding stuff. The complete ruling [pdf] is long. At Volokh.com, Dale Carpenter says Walker's "maximalist" approach of defending gay marriage on both due process and equal protection grounds could lead to a reversal by the U.S. Supreme Court. An appeal has already been filed and the decision will probably be going to the SCOTUS one of these years. Reaction to Walker's ruling also suggests how lukewarm President Obama and the Democrats have been in their support for marriage freedom.

* Climate gas cleared up: A court has ruled that the ballot wording of Proposition 23—which would delay implementation of state climate-change laws—must be changed. Sacramento County Superior Court Judge Timothy Frawley affirmed a claim from the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association that the term "major polluters" written by Attorney General Jerry Brown's office was pejorative and tended to bias readers of the ballot booklets. In an expression of fair-mindedness that can only be the work of Robert Greene, the L.A. Times editorial board—never a friend of either polluters or the Jarvis organization— agrees with the judge.

* More Prop. 23 shenanigans: Opponents of the measure are trying to get U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to put the screws to a major donor to the campaign. All this tsouris may be for nothing, as Prop.23 is an extreme long shot that is opposed by the current governor and both the Republican and Democratic candidates to replace him.

* When we go bankrupt in this state, we don't pussyfoot around: New government data show Californians lead the nation in "net scheduled debt"—the amount you have to pay back after all the bankruptcy proceedings. In the northern part of the state, bad debtors are still carrying an average of $483,410 even after bankruptcy protection.

* Did the recession cause the pension crisis? Not a bit of it: David Crane, Gov. Schwarzenegger's advisor for "Jobs & Economic Growth," shows that this is another case of blaming revenues for what is actually a spending problem. Costs have been skyrocketing over projected levels since the beginning of the century.