August 11, 2014

Divided Supreme Court takes anti-Citizens United proposition off the ballot, for now

After last week asking for expedited preliminary briefing concerning a writ petition that seeks to remove an anti-Citizens United proposition (Prop. 49) from this November’s election ballot, the Supreme Court this afternoon issued an order to show cause.

Noting that the measure “can be placed on a future ballot at the Legislature’s direction if the court ultimately determines it is valid,” the court’s order directs the Secretary of State “to refrain from taking any further action related to the placement of Proposition 49 on the November 4, 2014, ballot.”  It also requires a formal return to be filed by September 10.

Today is the deadline for the Secretary of State to send the voter information guide to the state printer.  It looks like Prop. 49 won’t be part of what is sent.

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye filed a concurring and dissenting statement, agreeing that the writ petition merits review by the court, but disagreeing with the court’s decision to take Prop. 49 off the ballot.  Justice Liu issued a concurring statement that responds to the Chief Justice’s statement.

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4 Responses to “Divided Supreme Court takes anti-Citizens United proposition off the ballot, for now”

  1. The people should deside this issue. Thanks for not giving us the chance. It seems like the court prefers a plutocracy not democracy. With a plutocracy there is no need for the rule of law.

  2. Have they not heard of democracy? What are we going to do?This needs response!!!! Let us vote!!!

  3. The ballot is the ultimate form of free speech. I thought that the proposition required signatures and if the number of signatures were sufficient it would qualify for the ballot. By what authority does the California Supreme Court remove items from the ballot? Perhaps the ACLU should consider taking this to the US Supreme Court. It might help them recoup the very unfortunate decision they made when they supported Citizens United in the first place.

  4. The proposition was placed on the ballot by the Legislature, not by initiative petitions signed by voters. This is an issue of the scope of the Legislature’s powers under the California constitution, not free speech. The Supreme Court’s authority to do what it did is in the California constitution and is explained in Justice Liu’s concurring statement, which can be found by clicking the link in the blog post to the order. Because this involves an issue of state constitutional law, it is extremely unlikely that the U.S. Supreme Court would be interested.

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