A California judge on Monday issued a tentative ruling in favor of two Republican state lawmakers who had filed an abuse of power lawsuit against Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom.
Executive Order N-67-20, which Newsom signed in June, required that counties mail all eligible voters vote-by-mail ballots before Election Day and regulated the number of polling stations.
Assemblymembers James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, challenged Newsom’s order in court, arguing that Newsom’s Emergency Services Act – implemented in March amid the burgeoning coronavirus pandemic – prevented the governor from issuing more executive orders or creating new laws.
Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman has sided with their lawsuit in declaring Newsom’s executive order unconstitutional. As part of the ruling, Heckman has issued a permanent injunction that prevents the Democratic governor from making additional unconstitutional orders.
“We have 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 in a joint statement. “This is a victory for separation of powers. The governor has continued to create and change state law without public input and without the deliberative process provided by the Legislature. Today the judicial branch again gave him the check that was needed and that the Constitution requires.”
The ruling, for now though, remains a tentative decision and is not expected to affect the election or the state’s decision to mail ballots to eligible California voters.