Court Limits Gavin Newsom’s Powers Due to “Unconstitutional” Use of Power

Court Limits Gavin Newsom's Powers Due to “Unconstitutional” Use of Power

On Monday, a judge issued a preliminary decree barring California Governor Gavin Newsom from issuing coronavirus-related directives that may conflict with state law.

Sutter County Supreme Court Justice Sarah Heckman ruled that one of Newsom's executive orders went beyond his mandate and was «an unconstitutional exercise of the legislature.»

More broadly, it barred him «from exercising any authority under the California Emergency Services Act that amends or modifies existing statutory law and enacts new legislation.»

The ban came after Assembly members, Republicans James Gallagher and Kevin Keely, filed a lawsuit against Newsom, claiming that in an effort to keep Californians safe, he was changing state laws as he saw fit. It was about the June directive of the governor, requiring hundreds of polling stations throughout California to simplify the voting process.

In her 9-page ruling, Heckman wrote that the California Emergency Powers Act «does not authorize the governor to amend legislation nor does it give the right to assume the Legislature's role in developing legislative policy and ordinances.»

She also cited a list of Newsom's decrees that changed existing laws — from the suspension of evictions of citizens from their homes during the pandemic to new rules for public gatherings.

“No one disputes that there are measures that need to be taken to ensure the safety of people in an emergency, — said, in turn, Gallagher and Keely — but this does not mean that we should abandon our Constitution and freedom, centralizing all power in the hands of one person. «

Heckman's decision will become final in 10 days. Until then, Newsom and his representatives have the opportunity to challenge the decree.

photo: flickr / cc / Gage Skidmore