Image: Public domain.
UPDATE: I'm changing the headline, because technically, the judge didn't rule on Newsom's "lockdown orders," but on the vote-by-mail order that Kiley and Gallagher sued him over. As I mentioned below, the point of that was to establish a ruling that would then apply to other orders. With her injunction, the judge has made it clear that she is applying the ruling to any future such orders (orders that amend statutory law), but what remains unclear is what will happen with the existing orders that she has said are unconstitutional.
From the judge's ruling:
"Injunctive relief is proper in this case for the following reasons: The Governor has issued a multitude of executive orders under the purported authority of the CESA, many of which have amended statutory law."
So the question is: Will these other orders Newsom has already issued-orders that she is saying are unconstitutional–also be voided? And if so, when?
Last week, CA legislator Kevin Kiley was a guest on my show, talking about his (and fellow legislator James Gallagher's) lawsuit against Governor Gavin Newsom, over his authoritarian lockdown orders. (Although, just to be clear, the one order that they went after in their suit had to do with voting by mail–their hope being that the precedent established there would apply to his other orders. Which it looks like it has.)
Today, the judge ruled in that case–in Kevin and James' favor. According to Kevin:
Today, a California Superior Court ruled in favor of me and fellow legislator James Gallagher in our lawsuit challenging Gavin Newsom’s abuse of power.
The Judge ruled Newsom violated the Constitution. She also issued an injunction restraining the Governor from issuing any more unconstitutional orders. You can read the ruling here.
This marks an end to Gavin Newsom’s one-man rule. It makes clear that the laws of the State of California do not countenance an autocracy under any circumstances – not for a single day, and certainly not for eight months with no end in sight.
The Court rejected Newsom’s extraordinary claim that a State of Emergency “centralizes the state’s powers in the hands of the Governor.” This is the unlawful basis on which Newsom has collapsed California’s system of checks and balances, issuing 57 Executive Orders and changing over 400 laws unilaterally.
The ruling is “tentative,” meaning Newsom has a few days to try to persuade the Judge to change her mind, but it’s rare for a tentative ruling to change. While Newsom can appeal, we are confident the decision is on solid legal ground and will stand.
I have been trying to read the ruling itself, but am unable to access the site–I imagine everyone is trying to read it right now. Once I get it, I will post an update.
But here is what Kevin had written earlier, about expectations for a ruling. Without having seen the ruling itself, it sounds to me like Outcome 3 is what they got:
I see four possibilities.
Outcome 1: Newsom wins. Obviously, this is the worst outcome, although we could appeal. He could prevail either on the merits or on a technicality.
Outcome 2: We win a narrow victory. This is where Newsom has started to place all his chips. In his Trial Brief, he barely even tries to defend the legality of his conduct. Instead, he implores the Court to limit its ruling to one Executive Order – in a word, damage control.
In our view, that’s insanity. Our Complaint clearly asks for a permanent injunction against all such unlawful orders. While this outcome would still have value, affirming that the Governor isn’t above the law, it is not what we are hoping for.
Outcome 3: We win a full victory. This would “enjoin the Governor from further exercising legislative powers in violation of the California Constitution.” Newsom would be legally restrained – the only antidote to his historic lack of self-restraint.
A number of his previous orders would immediately be exposed as unlawful, while others may become newly vulnerable. As a matter of law, our republican form of government would be vindicated.
Outcome 4: The Emergency Services Act is ruled unconstitutional. At the last hearing, Newsom’s lawyer himself said this is “one of the possible outcomes of the case.” It would result in the immediate termination of the State of Emergency and all emergency orders.
While this is not the most probable initial result, if it did happen, Newsom would seek an immediate stay of the ruling while he appealed.
The constitutionality of the Emergency Services Act is a question that would inevitably be decided by the California Supreme Court – which may be where this case ends up, one way or the other
What happens next? Since the ruling is "tentative", Newsom's team has a few days to try to convince the judge to change her ruling. Kiley thinks it is unlikely that she will. We will see. And if she doesn't?
That's what I'm hoping to get Kevin to come back on my show to discuss.
Finally: The last time I donated to any election campaign was when Ron Paul was running for president. So, for me, it's kind of a huge departure to say: Please go and donate to Kevin's campaign.
You can do that here: