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California Supreme Court Blocks Citizens United Advisory Proposition from Ballot

I’ve previously reported on SB 1272 which was rushed through the legislature and allowed to become “law” without Governor Brown’s signature.   The bill, authored by Senator Ted Lieu, calls for an advisory vote on whether the United States Congress and California Legislature should approve an amendment to the U.S. Constitution overturning the United States Supreme Court decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S.Ct. 876 (2010).   The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association filed a challenge in the Third District Court of Appeal, which was summarily rejected.  However, the group had greater success with the California Supreme Court which yesterday issued an order to show cause why relief should not be granted:

Because the proposition’s validity is uncertain, because this court in American Federation made clear that substantial harm can occur if an invalid measure is permitted to remain on the ballot, and because the measure, which the parties agree would have no legal effect, can be placed on a future ballot at the Legislature’s direction if the court ultimately determines it is valid, respondent Debra Bowen is directed to refrain from taking any further action related to the placement of Proposition 49 on the November 4, 2014, ballot.

The order was signed Justices BaxterWerdegarChinCorrigan, and Liu.  Justice Liu wrote a separate concurring statement. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye concurred and dissented, writing “A majority’s action today, however, without adhering to guiding precedent, has denied the Legislature the authority to place an advisory question to the vote of the people in the 2014 statewide election.”

© 2010-2022 Allen Matkins Leck Gamble Mallory & Natsis LLP National Law Review, Volume IV, Number 224
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About this Author

Keith Paul Bishop, Corporate Transactions Lawyer, finance securities attorney, Allen Matkins Law Firm
Partner

Keith Bishop works with privately held and publicly traded companies on federal and state corporate and securities transactions, compliance, and governance matters. He is highly-regarded for his in-depth knowledge of the distinctive corporate and regulatory requirements faced by corporations in the state of California.

While many law firms have a great deal of expertise in federal or Delaware corporate law, Keith’s specific focus on California corporate and securities law is uncommon. A former California state regulator of securities and financial institutions, Keith has decades of...

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