With the Court of Appeals dashing Newsom’s hopes of an immediate reversal, our case has become one of the most important in state history.
As Phil Willon of the LA Times writes, “I expect this case to wind up at the California Supreme Court. If so it would be one of the biggest checks on the California governor’s executive authority in times of state emergencies.” Even Newsom himself agrees it’s a “profoundly important decision.”
Our filing is due Friday, and I spent the weekend immersed in the law of emergency powers. Before our trial no California court had ever ruled a Governor abused his authority. This is what lawyers call a “case of first impression.”
The reason for that, of course, is that never before have we had a nine-month State of Emergency, never before have we had a Governor literally declare himself an autocrat, never before have we had such a pressing need for judicial intervention.
Meanwhile, our victory over Newsom at trial kicked off what a front-page Sacramento Bee story called “a particularly damaging month” for him:
“First a judge ruled that Newsom abused his power with some pandemic executive orders. Another gave his critics more time to collect signatures for a recall. Then came revelations Newsom attended a birthday party at an exclusive restaurant against his administration’s own public health guidance.”
As if this weren’t enough, last week brought revelations that sounded like a Thanksgiving Special from the Onion: Newsom’s EDD was outsmarted by California prisoners to the tune of $1 billion in fraudulent unemployment benefits, with checks flying out the door to murderers, child molesters, even Scott Peterson.
With the French Laundry episode making Newsom a figure of ridicule even in liberal circles, Willie Brown is suggesting he cut bait and appoint himself to the Senate. There’s also fresh speculation he’ll face a primary challenge from his own party if he does make it to reelection.
But the court case is about more than Newsom personally. While Judge Heckman’s ruling established that we still have three branches of government, now the higher court must decide between the wisdom of our Founding Fathers and the recklessness of our floundering Governor.
James and I will continue to represent ourselves in pro per, even as Newsom has countless litigators hammering away at the Attorney General’s Office. As they strain to distort the law into an authoritarian mold, we’re working to infuse it with the voices of millions of Californians who have been disenfranchised, dispossessed, and oppressed.