Supreme Court Blocks Citizens United Advisory Proposition From Ballot


I’ve previously reported on SB 1272 which was rushed through the legislature and allowed to become “law” without Governor Brown’s signature.   The bill, authored by Senator Ted Lieu, calls for an advisory vote on whether the United States Congress and California Legislature should approve an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010).   The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a challenge in the Third District Court of Appeal, which was summarily rejected.  However, the group had greater success with the California Supreme Court which yesterday issued an order to show cause why relief should not be granted:

Because the proposition’s validity is uncertain, because this court in American Federation made clear that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot, and because the measure, which the parties agree would have no legal effect, can be placed on a future ballot at the Legislature’s direction if the court ultimately determines it is valid, respondent Debra Bowen is directed to refrain from taking any further action related to the placement of Proposition 49 on the November 4, 2014, ballot.

The order was signed Justices Baxter, Werdegar, Chin, Corrigan, and Liu.  Justice Liu wrote a separate concurring statement. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye concurred and dissented, writing “A majority’s action today, however, without adhering to guiding precedent, has denied the Legislature the authority to place an advisory question to the vote of the people in the 2014 statewide election.”


DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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