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Law Office Management

Nov. 2, 2014

Ballot Propositions: Election Activists Persist

Prop. 49 was pulled from this month's ballot, but proponents still hope for a statewide vote on the measure.

Even after the California Supreme Court pulled Proposition 49 from this month's ballot, proponents are still hoping for a statewide vote to urge Congress to invalidate the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling, which extended free-speech protections to corporate campaign contributions. (Citizens United v. Fed. Election Comm'n, 558 U.S. 310 (2010).)

Jon Coupal, president of the antitax Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Foundation, called the measure a ploy to boost Democratic voter turnout. The group sued to stop Prop. 49, claiming that state law bars advisory ballot measures. (See "Verbatim")

Derek Cressman, former director of the Yes on 49 campaign, says pulling the measure amounted to "the judiciary squelching dissent against the judiciary." State Sen. Ted W. Lieu (D-Torrance), who sponsored the bill that created Prop. 49, said it was the "most activist judicial order" he'd seen while in public office. A brief supporting the Legislature's position is due this month.

Rather than let a potentially invalid vote go forward, justices in the majority said the court must first decide whether Prop. 49 is permissible. Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye alone dissented, citing the First Amendment and saying the vote should have been allowed to proceed when it was timely. Though she agrees, Jessica Levinson, clinical professor at Loyola Law School, predicts the court's majority will conclude that ballot measures should be used only to create laws, not to gauge public opinion.


Kari Santos

Daily Journal Staff Writer

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