On April 15, Governor Gavin Newsom announced California would contribute $75 million in disaster relief assistance to a “statewide public-private partnership [that] will provide financial support to undocumented immigrants impacted by COVID-19,” who, Newsom said, “are ineligible for unemployment insurance benefits and disaster relief.”  He reported that “philanthropic partners have committed to raising an additional $50 million” and that “[t]he state’s Disaster Relief Fund will be dispersed through a community-based model of regional nonprofits with expertise and experience serving undocumented communities.”

Yesterday, the Center for American Liberty filed in the Supreme Court a writ petition claiming such use of state money violates a bar against “the appropriation of public funds for the benefit of organizations not within the exclusive management and control of the State.”  The petition in Benitiz v. Newsom seeks an order, “without a hearing,” that prohibits “the distributi[on] [of the] public funds or claw[ing] back already distributed public funds . . . as fundamentally inconsistent and in conflicts [sic] with Article XVI, § 3 of the California Constitution.”  (Link added.)  The two petitioners are identified as Republican candidates for the California Assembly.

Today, the court requested a preliminary opposition be filed by noon this coming Tuesday, April 28.  The court said the preliminary opposition “may be informal but should respond to the merits of the petition.”  A reply can be filed by noon two days later.