Judge rules California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s mail-in ballot order overstepped authority

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President Donald Trump, a fierce critic of universal mail-in balloting, sort of won a late, tacit victory Friday when a California judge voided an executive order that had permitted state officials to mail ballots to every resident in the Golden State.

In her ruling, Superior Court of Sutter County Judge Sarah Heckman slammed Gov. Gavin Newsom for having used the coronavirus pandemic to justify issuing the order.

Back in June, the governor exploited the California Emergency Services Act to sign an executive order that implemented universal mail-in balloting.

Two Republican lawmakers — California Assemblymembers James Gallagher and Kevin Kiley — promptly filed suit and won a temporary injunction. However, the injunction was quickly overturned by an appellate judge, according to station KCRA.

“I think that is a very dangerous thing. And he’s made good on his word and he’s been issuing order after order after order. That affects all facets of all of our lives without any of us — not me as a legislator, not any of us as citizens, having any say in the matter,” Riley has reportedly said in defense of his and Gallagher’s suit.

Five months later, a final ruling has at last been issued.

In a tentative ruling issued during the week of the 2020 election, Judge Heckman decreed that while Newsom has the power to use the California Emergency Services Act to issue executive orders, he doesn’t have the authority to use it to make/change law.

The ruling seemingly pleased Newsom …

“The tentative ruling makes clear that the Governor’s statutory emergency authority is broad, and constitutional, and that the Governor has the authority, necessary in emergencies, to suspend statutes and issue orders to protect Californian,” his office said in a statement.

“Additionally, this ruling has absolutely no effect whatsoever on the current election. We strongly disagree with specific limitations the ruling places on the exercise of the Governor’s emergency authority and are evaluating next steps.”

But in a stern final ruling this Friday, Heckman completely voided the order, saying it’s “void as an unconstitutional exercise of legislative power and shall be of no further force or effect.”

She also slammed the governor for having exploited California Emergency Services Act, saying that it “does not authorize or empower the Governor of the State of California to amend statutory law or make new statutory law, which is exclusively legislative function not delegated to the Governor under the CESA.”

View the full ruling below:

Final Ruling Court Ruling A… by V Saxena

Newsom’s office reportedly had no response to being slapped down. Gallagher and Kiley, meanwhile, were pleased.

“California has not been well-served by one-man rule. A return to representative government will be best for public health and the economy. The Governor must accept this ruling as a fundamental principle of our democracy and govern himself accordingly,” they said in a joint statement.

The ruling will not affect the outcome of the 2020 presidential election because it was issued after the election and because it has since been formally codified into law by the state legislature.

Gallagher and Kiley persisted with the lawsuit nevertheless even after the state passed universal mail-in balloting on its own because of the principle that a governor should not have the broad authority to unilaterally make or change state law. Heckman clearly agreed with this principle.

The governor hasn’t addressed the final ruling either via a formal statement or via simply a tweet. He’s been too busy hypocritically lecturing his constituents about the coronavirus and trash-talking Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.


Heckman’s ruling came during the same week that the governor was exposed for being a hypocritical #covidiot.

Last week he and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, attended a crowded outdoor birthday party for one of his political advisers, according to a bombshell report from the San Francisco Chronicle published on the same day as Heckman’s ruling.

“The dinner the night of Nov. 6 at the famed French Laundry in Yountville in Napa County brought together at least 12 people to celebrate the 50th birthday of Jason Kinney, a longtime friend and adviser to Newsom who is also a partner at the lobbying firm Axiom Advisors,” the report read.

Attending a private birthday bash would have been perfectly acceptable had Newsom not spent the last eight or so months imposing rigid coronavirus lockdown rules on his constituents and lecturing them about the need to limit gatherings.

It seems that the coronavirus has convinced the governor that he not only has the right to make law/adjust the law but also the right to lecture his constituents on how to live their lives, all while he continues to live his own life as if everything is perfectly normal.


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Vivek Saxena


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