Ballot Arguments California Cases

The ballot argument accompanying the 1934 initiative measure sets forth in clear terms both the objectives and the limits of the proposed constitutional provision. "THE BALLOT ARGUMENT STATED: 'The purpose of this constitutional amendment is to promote efficiency and economy in State government. the sole aim of the act is to prohibit appointments and promotion in State service except on the basis of merit, efficiency and fitness ascertained by competitive examination. Appointments of inefficient employees for political reasons are thereby prohibited, thus eliminating the "spoils system" from State employment. . . . This constitutional amendment provides: (1) Employment in the classified service based solely on merit and efficiency; (2) a nonpartisan Personnel Board; (3) prohibition against exemptions from the merit system of employment; (4) correction of the temporary political appointment evil. Having by constitutional mandate prohibited employment on any basis except merit and efficiency, thereby eliminating as far as possible the "spoils system" of employment, the Legislature is given a free hand in setting up laws relating to personnel administration for the best interests of the State, including the setting up of causes for dismissal such as inefficiency, misconduct or lack of funds.' (Ballot Pamp., Proposed Amends. to Cal. Const. with arguments to voters, Gen. Elec. (Nov. 6, 1934), argument in favor of Prop. 7, p. 12.)" ( Pacific Legal Foundation v. Brown (1981) 29 Cal. 3d 168, 181-183 172 Cal. Rptr. 487, 624 P.2d 1215, fn. omitted (Brown).) California Constitution former article XXIV was revised without substantive change in 1970; its provisions were adopted verbatim as article VII in 1976. ( Brown, supra, 29 Cal. 3d at p. 184, fn. 8.) The constitutional language at issue here is found in sections 1 and 3 of article VII. Section 1 provides: "(a) the civil service includes every officer and employee of the State except as otherwise provided in this Constitution. (b) In the civil service permanent appointment and promotion shall be made under a general system based on merit ascertained by competitive examination." SECTION 3 PROVIDES IN PART: "(a) the board shall enforce the civil service statutes and, by majority vote of all its members, shall prescribe probationary periods and classifications, adopt other rules authorized by statute, and review disciplinary actions." In analyzing the challenges to the demonstration project statutes and their implementation, we rely on several fundamental principles of constitutional adjudication " 'Unlike the federal Constitution, which is a grant of power to Congress, the California Constitution is a limitation or restriction on the powers of the Legislature. Two important consequences flow from this fact. First, the entire law-making authority of the state, except the people's right of initiative and referendum, is vested in the Legislature, and that body may exercise any and all legislative powers which are not expressly, or by necessary implication denied to it by the Constitution. . . . Secondly, all intendments favor the exercise of the Legislature's plenary authority: "If there is any doubt as to the Legislature's power to act in any given case, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the Legislature's action. Such restrictions and limitations imposed by the Constitution are to be construed strictly, and are not to be extended to include matters not covered by the language used." "Moreover, our past cases establish that the presumption of constitutionality accorded to legislative acts is particularly appropriate when the Legislature has enacted a statute with the relevant constitutional prescriptions clearly in mind. In such a case, the statute represents a considered legislative judgment as to the appropriate reach of the constitutional provision. Although the ultimate constitutional interpretation must rest, of course, with the judiciary, a focused legislative judgment on the question enjoys significant weight and deference by the courts.