Although many expected 2010 to be the year of comprehensive constitutional change in California, plans for calling a constitutional convention in the state collapsed. Instead, interest groups and legislators—whose goals were disjointed and often diametrically opposed—worked to pass five separate “piecemeal reforms” amending the constitution. This Essay examines the process of piecemeal reform, drawing on California history, jurisprudence in the state, and the experiences of other states to lay out the benefits as well as the costs of this approach to constitutional change. It concludes by suggesting an alternative approach to reform that seeks to capture the blessings while avoiding the curses of the piecemeal process.

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