The Supreme Court went with option 5. (See yesterday’s post.) This afternoon, it said it will decide the merits of an original writ petition filed by California’s Legislature and its Governor seeking to prevent next year’s November ballot from including an initiative that would make it more difficult to enact new taxes. (See here.) The court could have summarily denied the petition in Legislature v. Weber now and waited to see if the initiative passes at the election before determining the measure’s validity. (Of course, the court would not have been required to determine the initiative’s legality even at that later date.)
Today’s order to show cause doesn’t guarantee the court will issue an opinion in the case before the deadline for California’s Secretary of State to place or not place the initiative on the November 2024 ballot (the petition says that date is June 27), but suggests there will in fact be a decision before then. The court set an expedited briefing schedule, atypically saying it “does not anticipate granting any extensions of time” for the parties’ and any amicus curiae filings.
Under the order, the Secretary of State and the initiative’s proponent must file returns to the petition by December 27, the petitioners traverse to the returns are due by January 17, proposed amicus briefs with applications to file the briefs are due by January 31, and any replies to any amicus briefs are due by February 14.
Look for an oral argument to be scheduled on the March, April, early-May, or late-May calendars.
[December 1 update: the issues, as summarized by court staff, are — (1) Does the Taxpayer Protection and Government Accountability Act constitute an impermissible attempted revision of the California Constitution by voter initiative? (2) Is this initiative measure subject to invalidation on the ground that, if adopted, it would impair essential government functions? (See here.)]