Gary Morrison | Understanding the Levels of Power

Letters to the Editor
Letters to the Editor

Re: Rick Barker, “Constitutional Law 101,” letters, Jan. 8.

Rick has it wrong. It is true that the many divisions of our governmental system can each put forth rules, or in some cases laws, that pertain to issues that fall under its purview. The issue Mr. (Arthur) Saginian wrote about is how, or when, the provisions of that ruling are reversed or ended. 

There are certain levels of power. The executive branch, governor, president, et al., can issue an executive order to quickly solve a pressing problem. It takes another executive to nullify or end that order. The next level up, the legislative branch, could write a new law that nullifies the E.O. or stops its enforcement.

The Constitution is the highest level of lawmaking in our system. Only “the People” can write or tamper with the Constitution! Accordingly, we have a provision that allows for the”people” to create new parts of the Constitution. It is called the proposition (in California). It takes more effort and more hoops to go through. Only the courts can make changes at this point. 

So, if an action or decision is put in place by a less powerful level of government, it can be eliminated or altered by that level or higher. In order to keep the law or decision in effect, it must be resubmitted by a higher level of government. Hence, Proposition 1. 

Gary Morrison


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