California’s Democratic politicians have spent the last few weeks declaring “resistance” to Donald Trump and other Republicans who now dominate the federal government.
They have proclaimed California’s right to fashion a “progressive” society and maintain its unique cultural values — using, ironically, rhetoric similar to that employed by George Wallace and other Southern segregationists a half-century ago.
As they pursue their vision of California, however, the state’s dominant Democrats are strangely willing to ignore, bend or even violate the civil rights of Californians who don’t happen to agree with that vision.
Within a few days this month, two federal judges spanked Gov. Jerry Brown and legislators for enacting two bills that, on their face, violate rights.
On Feb. 22, Vince Chhabria, a federal judge in San Francisco, enjoined the state from enforcing a new state law that would bar IMDb, a registry for actors, from revealing ages of performers, declaring that it violates free-speech rights.
The Screen Actors Guild-backed bill was passed after a suit against IMDb, a subsidiary of Amazon, failed. The suit alleged that publishing actors’ ages led to discrimination against older performers.
A few days later, Lawrence O’Neill, the chief U.S. district judge in Fresno, issued a preliminary injunction barring enforcement of a new state law that allows public officials to remove addresses and other personal information about themselves from exposure on the internet.
O’Neill also cited free-speech protections, saying that when a gun owners’ group published addresses, it was “a form of political protest.” The group was protesting a new state law that required purchasers of ammunition to supply personal information about themselves.
These are just the two most recent cases involving state legislation that targets specific groups in ways that may abridge their rights. In fact, the state’s tightest-in-the-nation gun control laws themselves are seen by gun owners as violating the U.S. Constitution’s Bill of Rights.
One pending federal suit by an anti-abortion organization alleges that a state law requiring “pro-life pregnancy centers” to tell patrons that they can obtain low- or no-cost abortions violates free speech. The case appears headed to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Finally, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors filed suit Monday to overturn another new state law creating a commission to redraw the county’s five supervisorial districts after each census.
The state has such a commission to redraw legislative and congressional districts after each census. But the Los Angeles commission, unlike the state’s, would require members to reflect the partisan makeup of the county’s voters — thus handing overwhelming control to Democrats.
The law “tips the process, promoting partisanship, playing favorites between political parties and unaffiliated voters, and subverting local controls,” the suit contends.
One could surmise that one of those cultural values our politicians seek to enhance is unchallenged Democratic Party dominance of our politics.
Dan Walters is a political columnist for The Sacramento Bee.