The Effect of the Court’s Ruling


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Many people have asked if our court victory over Governor Newsom is a precedent to challenge the lockdown. The answer is yes: the Pacific Legal Foundation just filed a lawsuit using the same legal theory to invalidate the color-coded “Blueprint.”

But before getting to that, here’s how Newsom responded to the ruling: “We strongly disagree with specific limitations the ruling places on the exercise of the Governor’s emergency authority.”

He can see that this is the end of his one-man rule. That’s because, simply put, Judge Heckman’s ruling is a home run. In a thorough and well-reasoned opinion, she agreed with us on every issue:

  • Newsom tried to get out of the case on a technicality, arguing that it was moot. But Judge Heckman held it was not “for two distinct reasons.”

  • Newsom argued that the Emergency Services Act transforms California into an autocracy and places all powers of the State in his hands. But Judge Heckman held that its “plain meaning” does not “give the Governor the power to legislate.”

  • Newsom argued against any restraints on his future conduct. But Judge Heckman found good cause for a Permanent Injunction because it is “reasonably probable the Governor will continue issuing executive orders…violating the California Constitution.”

  • Newsom argued the ruling should be put on hold while he appealed. But Judge Heckman has not done that.

So what is the effect of the ruling? Let’s start with the obvious.

First, it’s what the LA Times called a “rebuke” of Governor Newsom. The Judge found that several of his orders had no basis in law whatsoever.

Second, it’s a vindication of the rule of law. In a column about the ruling, Dan Walters writes that Newsom’s unlawful conduct is “ironic” when he at the same time “demands that 40 million Californians obey his pandemic decrees, such as shutting down small businesses.”

Third, the ruling restrains Newsom from issuing further unconstitutional orders. Here is the text of the Permanent Injunction:

Gavin Newsom, in his official capacity as Governor of the State of California is enjoined and prohibited from exercising any power under the California Emergency Services Act which amends, alters, or changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy.

This means that if Newsom continues to rule by fiat, issuing decrees that amount to new laws or policies, he could be held in contempt of court.

Fourth, the ruling calls into question many of Newsom’s orders. Judge Heckman rejected his argument that Section 8627 of the Emergency Services Act gives him autocratic powers. At least 24 of his Executive Orders rely on that section.

Fifth, it creates a precedent to challenge Newsom’s more far-reaching restrictions, including the lockdown orders. You can see the Pacific Legal Foundation’s new lawsuit here, which is based on our successful separation-of-powers legal theory.  

After Judge Heckman’s ruling becomes final next Thursday, Newsom has 60 days to file an appeal. While many expect the case to end up in the California Supreme Court, we are confident the ruling will stand and that the era of one-man rule in California is over.  

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