PROPOSITION 187: Davis Weighs ‘Difficult Choices’
A news analysis piece in today's Los Angeles Times examines Gov. Gray Davis' options regarding Proposition 187, the "explosive 1994 ballot measure" that ended medical and educations benefits for illegal immigrants. While the state appeals a court overturn, Davis must decide whether his administration will continue the Wilson administration's fight to uphold the measure. "To continue the case would seem a political nightmare for a Democrat like Davis, who opposed Proposition 1876 and who campaigned for election last year on a promise to heal the racial strains caused by its passage," according to the Times. But in a radio interview yesterday, Davis indicated that he may have little choice but to support the measure. "I did take the oath of office pledging fidelity to our Constitution and the federal Constitution, and it may well be I'm duty bound by that oath to be sure that appeal goes forward," said Davis. Constitutional scholar Stephen Barnett of the University of California-Berkeley said, "I would not say [Davis] is legally obligated" to pursue the appeal, but "I would say (the Constitution) supports the position that he ought to get an appellate decision." Thomas Saenz of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund disagrees, however, "There is nothing -- I emphasize, absolutely nothing -- that requires the governor to continue the appeal," he said. And there's another twist to the Catch 22, say some Democrats. If Davis drops the case, "angry supporters" of Prop. 187 could draft another initiative and place it on the ballot, thus ensuring that "next year's presidential race or the gubernatorial contest in 2002 is dominated by a debate over illegal immigration," the Times reports. A source "close to the governor" said, "If what you want to do is close the book on this thing, what's the best strategy? Dropping the appeal may in fact keep the issue alive." The source added, "If this were easy, [the governor] would have decided it already" (Lesher, 4/14).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.