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California Superior Court judge issues opinion that Gov. Newsom exceeded his emergency powers

In an opinion issued on Monday, November 2, the Honorable Sarah H. Heckman, Judge of the California Superior Court, has ruled that California Gov. Gavin Newsom exceeded his emergency powers when he issued Executive Order N-67-20:

There are two distinct reasons for finding the cause is not moot. First and foremost, the legal controversy for which plaintiffs have requested declaratory relief is not limited to the validity of Executive Order N-67-20 (Def. Ex. 5), which concems only the 2020 General Election. The
controversy at issue in this case is broader, specifica[y whether the Govemor has the authority under the Califomia Emergency Services Act (Gofi. Code $$8550-8669.7.) (“CESA”) to exercise legislative powers by unilaterally amending, altering, or changing existing statutory law or making new statutory law. Plaintiffs take the position in these proceedings the Govemor does not have such authority under the Califomia Constitution or the CESA to legislate by unilaterally amending existing statutory law. The Govemor takes the position the CESA’s grant of authority to exercise “all police power vested in the state,” allowing him to “promulgate, issue, and enforce such orders and regulations as he deems necessary” authorizes him to legislate by
unilaterally amending existing statutory law. Not only is this an active and ongoing controversy between the parties, but it is a critically important one for the Judicial Branch to resolve. The State of Emergency brought about by the COVID-l9 pandemic which was proclaimed by the Govemor on March 4, 2020 continues in effect, indefinitely, and the Govemor continues to have authority to act under the CESA. The Govemor has issued three executive orders during the current state of emergency specifically regarding the November 3,2020 geteral election (Def. Exs. 4 and 5; Pl. Ex. D) and has issued more than 50 different executive orders changing numerous California statutes since the state of emergency was declared. (Pl. Ex. F)

(Emphasis added.)

Further, the judge wags her finger at Gov. Newsom, and tells him to stop violating the State Constitution:

Gavin Newsom, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of California is enjoined and prohibited from exercising any power under the California Emergency Services Act (Government Code $ 8550 et seq.) which amends, alters, or changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy.

Executive Order N-67-20 mandated mail-in ballots for everyone for the November 3 general election, but the ruling will by implication invalidate all Gov. Newsom’s Executive Orders that changed California statutes.

The core of the matter is that Gov. Newsom changed statutory law, rather than issuing orders or regulations. Further, the opinion plainly states that Gov. Newsom has violated the California Constitution over and over again, legislating rather than serving as State chief executive.

Democratic members of the California State Legislature were wimps. They cut and ran from Sacramento, leaving Gov. Newsom to run two branches of government, the executive and the legislative. They should bear part of the blame.

The ruling comes too late to salvage the operations of the November 3 election, but not too late to invalidate all the other “gubernatorial legislation” disguised as Executive Orders. Kudos to Republican lawmakers Kevin Kiley and James Gallagher, who filed the lawsuit.

The tentative ruling becomes permanent in ten days.

Republicans should not let the ink dry on this ruling before filing suit against other examples of blatant overreach by Gov. Newsom.

Statement from Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield)

Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove (R-Bakersfield) released the following statement after a California Superior Court Judge issued a tentative ruling declaring Governor Newsom has violated the Constitution. The ruling is in response to a lawsuit filed by Republican lawmakers Kevin Kiley and James Gallagher which challenged Governor Newsom’s ‘one-man rule’ and abuse of power. The ruling states that there is good cause for a permanent injunction restraining the Governor from issuing any more unconstitutional orders.

“Today’s ruling is a monumental victory for ‘We the People.’ The governor seems to have forgotten who he works for and this ruling should jog his memory. I am extremely proud of my Republican colleagues who continued our fight against the Governor’s unilateral abuse of power all the way to the court. Democrats can try to undermine or assault our freedoms as Americans, but Republicans remain committed to upholding the freedoms that so many have fought and sacrificed for us to enjoy,” said Senate Republican Leader Shannon Grove.

Update: Statement from California State Senator John Moorlach (R-CA37)

Senator John M.W. Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, issued the following statement in response to a tentative court ruling against Governor Newsom, which prevents him from unilaterally making or creating laws:

For too long this state has been under the one-man rule of Governor Newsom, who has abused his power during the COVID-19 State of Emergency to unconstitutionally push his agenda without the input of the people and the Legislature.

Congratulations to Assemblymembers James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, in this extraordinary victory for all Californians. It shows that Republicans are still relevant in holding back the tide of big government.