A State Superior Court judge ruled against Governor Gavin Newsom in a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of his executive orders.
Judge Sarah Heckman ruled that Newsom's executive No. N-67-20 was indeed unconstitutional.
The order required that all California residents registered to vote in the Nov. elections receive vote-by-mail ballots. The order also required one voting place per 10,000 residents be available from Oct 31 to Nov 2 for at least 8 hours.
As part of Heckman's ruling, she also issued a permanent injunction preventing Newsom from making further unconstitutional orders.
The lawsuit was brought about by California Assemblymembers James Gallagher (R-Yuba City) and Kevin Kiley (R-Rocklin).
The Governor had two Executive Orders. The first one was about mailing ballots to all voters. The second (the one we challenged in Court) was more broadly about the election process. More importantly, this lawsuit is about separation of powers.— James Gallagher (@J_GallagherAD3) November 2, 2020
The Judge has ruled in our case against Gavin Newsom. We won. The Judge found good cause to issue a permanent injunction restraining the Governor from issuing further unconstitutional orders.— Kevin Kiley (@KevinKileyCA) November 2, 2020
"We've been arguing that the California Emergency Services Act does not provide for one-man rule. Today, the court agreed with us," Gallagher and Kiley said. "This is a victory for separation of powers. The Governor has continued to create and change state law without public input and without the deliberate process provided by the legislature. Today, the judicial branch again gave him the chack that was needed and the Constitution requires."
The court's decision does not impact the 2020 election protocols.
The ruling does not affect the Governor's stay-at-home orders, as local State Senator Melissa Melendez pointed out.
To clear any confusion, the ruling in the case against Newsom does not end the lockdown. It means he cannot amend, alter, or change existing statutory law or make new statutory law or legislative policy.— Senator Melissa Melendez (@senatormelendez) November 2, 2020
The judge found the California Emergency Services Act itself to be constitutional, and made it clear that Newsom "has the authority, necessary in emergencies, to suspend statutes and issue orders to protect Californians," he said in a statement.
Heckman’s decision will become final in 10 days unless Newsom’s attorneys can raise new challenges.
Newsom’s administration is evaluating its next steps and strongly disagrees with the order’s specific limitations, said spokesman Jesse Melgar.
It’s the second time a judge in the county has reached the same conclusion, which runs counter to other state and federal court decisions backing the governor’s emergency powers. An appeals court quickly stayed the earlier order in June.
Stay with News Channel 3 for any updates.