By Bethany Blankley | The Center Square Oct 3, 2020
(The Center Square) – Prior to the trial date of Oct. 21, a court hearing has been set for Oct. 7 in a lawsuit filed against Gov. Gavin Newsom by two state legislators.
Assemblymen Kevin Kiley, R-Rockland, and Assemblyman James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, sued Newsom earlier this year over an executive order he issued relating to the state’s election process. Executive Order N-67-20 seeks to implement voting by mail for registered California voters as an alternative to in-person voting. The case will be heard by the Superior Court of California in Yuba City.
Attorneys for Newsom filed a 33-page “Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings” arguing the lawsuit’s “mootness.” The governor’s office has argued that the issue of separation of powers is an academic one and as a matter or law, is “flexible” and “pragmatic.”
The legislators argue Newsom is trying to avoid the trial “on a technicality.”
Gallagher and Kiley also filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, meaning based on their arguments, it is possible they could win the case on Oct. 7, Kiley argued in an email sent to supporters.
If they win their arguments on Oct. 7, they could seek, and possibly be granted, a restraining order against some of Newsom’s executive orders.
The governor’s office also filed a 20-page opposition brief this week, which claims the legislators’ lawsuit threatens to “throw into chaos current efforts to combat the wildfires now burning across the State.”
Firefighting is a clear executive function in response to a clear emergency, the legislators argue, which has nothing to do with their lawsuit. Their goal is “to stop Newsom from using the charade of ‘emergency powers’ for his own political purposes unrelated to any emergency.”
They are “demanding the restoration of constitutional government after seven months of its total collapse.”
The legislators reply brief warns “of the dangers of an extended State of Emergency, with a Governor apt to ‘fall into the habit of acting unilaterally’ even for non-emergency purposes. As if to prove the point, on Sept. 24 Governor Newsom issued a unilateral Executive Order banning gas-powered vehicles by 2035.
“In the Order, he did not cite the Emergency Services Act – a chilling sign that seven months into this emergency, lawmaking by decree has become normalized. The time for a judicial check has arrived, as has already occurred in numerous other states.”
If the judge grants their request, the governor’s ability to issue executive orders will be restricted. If neither motion succeeds, a trial will take place Oct. 21.