If at first you're succeeded


Issue: "Nuclear threat in Korea," Aug. 16, 2003

Unhappy with the will of 1.3 million voters whose signatures forced his name onto an Oct. 7 recall ballot, California Gov. Gray Davis and his supporters have papered California courts with a flurry of lawsuits. The suits are designed, alternately, to postpone the recall election until March, hand Gov. Davis's job to Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante, and allow the governor to run on the recall ballot to succeed himself.

In his own legal action, Gov. Davis first wants the recall election moved to March 2004, the date of California's presidential primary election. But the state constitution requires that a recall election be held within 80 days of voter-signature certification. The Oct. 7 date already presses the outer boundary of that time frame. The constitution does provide that a recall election may be "consolidated with the next regularly scheduled election," but only if that election takes places within 180 days of certifying the recall petition signatures. The March presidential primary is scheduled more than 220 days after that certification.

Gov. Davis has further asked the California Supreme Court to allow him to run on the recall ballot as his own successor-a direct violation of the state constitution, which in Article 2, Section 15 declares that an officer facing recall "may not be a candidate" to replace himself.

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