Speaking of many amicus briefs, over a dozen were filed yesterday in Legislature v. Weber, where the Supreme Court has agreed to decide the merits of an original writ petition filed by California’s Legislature and its Governor seeking to prevent the November ballot from including an initiative that would make it more difficult to enact new taxes. (More about the petition here.)
One of the amicus briefs was filed by former Governor Jerry Brown. The brief — supporting the petitioners — argues that the measure proposes not just to amend the California constitution, which can be validly accomplished by initiative, but to revise the constitution, which cannot. In an evocative passage, the brief says that the initiative’s proponent “echoes a 1950s film noir in which a police officer tells a crowd, ‘there’s nothing to see, move along,’ when the police officer in fact is standing in front of a corpse – in this instance (to apply the metaphor to the facts), the corpse of our State Government.”
Another notable part of the filing is Brown’s Statement of Interest. Describing his amicus bona fides — and before listing his four terms as governor, and his service as California’s Attorney General and Secretary of State and as Mayor of Oakland — the brief recites that Brown “served as a law clerk to Justice Mathew Tobriner of this Court from 1964 to 1965.”
Replies to the amicus briefs are due February 14 under an expedited briefing schedule. Oral argument has not been set yet, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see the case on the March or April calendar.