Veteran political journalist Dan Walters of CalMatters writes about last week’s Supreme Court In re Gadlin decision that struck down Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation regulations that excluded from parole eligibility all inmates who have past or current convictions requiring sex offender registration. The unanimous opinion interpreted Proposition 57, a 2016 initiative sponsored by then-Governor Jerry Brown to amend the state constitution.
In his column “Court upbraids Jerry Brown on ballot measure,” Walters says Gadlin held that Proposition 57 “did what [the initiative’s] critics said it would do, not what Brown told voters” and that the opinion “subtly but unmistakably criticized Brown for sloppy drafting of the ballot measure.” He concludes, “there is an indelible stain on what Brown had said was one of his proudest achievements.”
It was only because of a 2016 Supreme Court opinion — Brown v. Superior Court (2016) 63 Cal.4th 335 — that Proposition 57 even made it onto the ballot in the first place.
If Gadlin in fact criticized Governor Brown, it wasn’t the first time the court expressed its disapproval of his actions. When the court refused to sign off on 10 of Brown’s proposed clemency grants, it was essentially accusing him of attempted abuses of power, although it did so without explanation. (See here, here, here, and here.)