Letters to the Editor

Rights are on the line

Mr. Gurnee’s letter of Oct. 7 states that Proposition 32 “is designed to prevent corporations and unions from contributing to California political campaigns.” The U.S. Supreme Court has recently decided by the vote of all the conservative justices that these entities have a First Amendment (freedom of speech) constitutional right to contribute to political campaigns. This right is then the law of the land, including California.

If Proposition 32 is passed, it will be unconstitutional from its inception. But, it will require a long costly court battle to void this proposition, thus further burdening an overburdened court system. In addition, it would increase the expenditure of tax money mainly taken from Californians, because this state’s attorney general is required to defend the constitutionality of its laws.

California Legislature’s record with regard to First Amendment rights has been an abomination. The U.S. Supreme Court recently struck down (on First Amendment grounds) a California law making it a crime to lie about awards received in military service.

During the Vietnam War, a person was convicted of a California law making it a crime to have obscene word(s) before the word “draft” on his jacket. The U.S. Supreme Court at that time struck down the California law on First Amendment grounds.