On Wednesday, the Supreme Court asked for a preliminary opposition to the original writ petition (see rule 8.487(a)) seeking to prevent enforcement of the CARE Act, legislation enacted at Governor Gavin Newsom’s urging that, as he described it, establishes “a new framework to get people with mental health and substance use disorders the support and care they need.” The petition — Disability Rights California v. Newsom — claims the Act “violates essential constitutional guarantees of due process and equal protection while needlessly burdening fundamental rights to privacy, autonomy and liberty.”

The petition was filed on January 26. (See here.)

The court has set a tight schedule for the completion of preliminary briefing. The respondents — Newsom and California’s Secretary of Health and Human Services — are to file a preliminary opposition by February 10; a reply is due 11 days after that. The court said it “does not contemplate granting any requests for extension of time.”

A request for a preliminary opposition doesn’t mean the court will agree to decide the writ petition on its merits. Petitions have been denied after such requests. (See, e.g., here and here.) On the other hand, the court could have not asked for any opposition and simply denied the petition without prejudice to refiling in a lower court, which is what it did with a challenge to Proposition 22. (See here.)

[February 14 update: Here is the Governor’s preliminary opposition. It says that “petitioner’s assertions are unsupported and misunderstand the Act.”]

[March 6 update: And here is the reply to the preliminary opposition. It says that “the State at best shows that the in-artfully drafted CARE Act presents important issues of statutory interpretation that th[e] Court should address.” The reply was filed on February 21.]