Proposition 13 was a legally approved amendment to the California Constitution, not an illegally enacted constitutional revision, the Second District Court of Appeal ruled July 24, discarding a suit by former University of California at Los Angeles Chancellor Charles Young.
Mr. Young's suit was based on a premise rejected by the California Supreme Court in 1978 in Amador Valley Joint Union High School v. State Board of Equalization. He contended that the Amador decision didn't specifically address the amendment-vs.-revision issue, but the Court of Appeal said he was mistaken.
"(O)ur Supreme Court previously concluded that article XIII A in its entirety was an amendment, not a revision," the court wrote in its five-page opinion.
Mr. Young's meritless suit was supported by the Western Center on Law and Poverty; Christopher Edley Jr., dean of the UC Berkeley School of Law; Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the UC Irvine School of Law; and Frank Wu, dean of the UC Hastings School of Law.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association supported Proposition 13 before the court. "Now that the Appellate Court has rejected his arguments, we hope that Chancellor Young has gotten the message and will end his attacks on Prop. 13, the backbone of taxpayer rights in the state of California," HJTA President Jon Coupal said.
Mr. Coupal noted that Mr. Young previously attempted to have his suit taken directly to the Supreme Court, arguing that time was of the essence because the state needed more revenue from higher property taxes, and that the former chancellor "strategically named as defendants only officers of the Legislature who have no incentive to defend Prop. 13."
In addition to siding with the defenders of Proposition 13, the court ordered Mr. Young to pay HJTA's legal costs for the appeal.
The opinion was written by Justice Madeleine Flier. Presiding Justice Tricia Bigelow and Justice Douglas Sortino (a Los Angeles Superior Court judge sitting on assignment) concurred.
The case is Charles Young v. Gregory Schmidt. (Mr. Schmidt is the secretary of the state Senate.)
July 27, 2012
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