Less than two weeks before Election Day 2020, the Supreme Court today agreed to hear Pico Neighborhood Association v. City of Santa Monica, a case that accuses Santa Monica of violating the California Voting Rights Act and the state constitution by electing its city council members at-large instead of by districts.  The plaintiffs assert the city’s election system discriminates against Latinos.

The Second District, Division Eight, in a published opinion, found no statutory or constitutional violations.

The Supreme Court, however, is apparently not interested in the constitutional claim.  It limited the issue to:  “What must a plaintiff prove in order to establish vote dilution under the California Voting Rights Act?”

The court also depublished the Court of Appeal’s opinion, meaning that it can no longer be cited at all, not even for its “persuasive value.”  (Rule 8.1115(a), (e)(1).)  Normally, a published opinion retains its citability pending review, albeit only for its potential persuasiveness, not as binding precedent.  (Rule 8.1115(e)(1); see here.)  A grant/depublication combo order happens only occasionally.

[Update:  Election law expert — and Horvitz & Levy alum — Rick Hasen criticizes the Court of Appeal opinion on his Election Law Blog.]