Letters to the Editor

Focus on reasoning

Requiring county political party committees to swear allegiance to the Constitution is unconstitutional (Nov. 5) You reported that John Barta said being forced (by 1950s state law) to take the oath was a violation of his rights to free speech and expression and assembly. And to California’s Constitutional free speech rights.

You report that Mr. Barta’s lawyer, Stew Jenkins argued that the statutes, which mandate appointment of these political party committees, “stand constitutional principles on their head.” Sadly, what you do not report is what Judge Tangeman said in his decision.

I know Judge Tangeman to be an articulate man of reasoned thinking. I’d surmise that in his decision, he must have attended to the limitations in Article VI, Clause 3 of the Constitution, which requires the oath for only “the Senators and Representatives before mentioned, and the Members of the several State Legislatures, and all executive and judicial Officers, both of the United States and of the several States.”

The Tribune would well serve its readership if it adopted a policy in reporting on court cases of focusing on the reasoning of the court. It would be a responsible act of good citizenship by our local arm of the fourth estate.

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