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LIBERTY: Rights & Tolerance | April 14, 1999



An Unpublished Letter to Los Angeles Times

Context: In November 1994, Californians passed an initiative, Proposition 187, cutting off some health and social services, including access to public education, to illegal aliens and their children.

I am proud to say that I was one of the top volunteers for Gray Davis during his election campaign and inaugural planning. I know first-hand that he and his staff have that rare combination of political savvy and ethical integrity, so I can appreciate how truly trying the current dilemma must be for the Governor, in deciding whether or not to act as an advocate for Proposition 187 on appeal: Whether to fulfill his promise to "uphold the will of the people" or whether to fulfill his promise to "end the era of wedge politics". The majority of the electorate was for Prop. 187; he and the majority of his supporters were against it.

Maybe there is a third way -- one that is both pragmatic and sincere. I understand that our legal system is inherently adversarial. However, if one side truly has mixed feelings about an issue, would it be against either the letter or the spirit of the law for that side to state both the pros and the cons of the case as clearly and as honestly as it could? I have faith that each presiding Justice would weigh all the evidence fairly, regardless of which side presents it.

Although a case before the Supreme Court, or any court, is typically a contest between two uncompromising sides, the proceedings are ultimately a search for the truth. And I am sure that is exactly what our moderate Governor and all fair-minded people seek, too.

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