California’s 168-year run as a single entity, hugging the continent’s edge for hundreds of miles and sprawling east across mountains and desert, could come to an end next year — as a controversial plan to split the Golden State into three new jurisdictions qualified Tuesday for the Nov. 6 ballot.
If a majority of voters who cast ballots agree, a long and contentious process would begin for three separate states to take the place of California, with one primarily centered around Los Angeles and the other two divvying up the counties to the north and south. Completion of the radical plan — far from certain, given its many hurdles at judicial, state and federal levels — would make history.
Seems to me that this alone would doom the proposal:
There also is a sizable debate about whether such a sweeping change can be created through a ballot initiative — that is, whether it rises to the level of a “revision” of the California Constitution, which can only be instigated by the Legislature or by a formal constitutional convention. Revisions, Amar wrote in 2017, are generally seen by the courts as the most substantial kinds of changes to a government.
“What is of greater importance to a state than its geographic boundaries?” Amar wrote. “As the national debate about a wall along the Mexican border rages, we are reminded that even in a digital age, physical space and physical lines matter immensely to the course of peoples’ lives, and the legal regimes under which they live.”