Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Howard Jarvis Association Tilts At Windmills

Yesterday the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, vowing never to be second in the race to the courthouse, filed a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the budget proposal passed by the Legislature last month. But the legislation was never enacted into law because the Governor (as promised) vetoed it. How does the HJTA (and the Insurance Commissioner, one of the other plaintiffs) think they have standing to challenge legislation before it's enacted? Do they really think that the Third Appellate District will give the Legislature an advisory opinion about whether never-enacted legislation is constitutional? Here is the relevant article from the San Francisco Chronicle; here is the latest from the Los Angeles Times; and here and here are articles from the Sacramento Bee. Finally, here is a link to the pleading filed by HJTA. (Thanks, Tim Bittle, for pointing me to its web site.)

A quick skim of the lawsuit indicates that its plaintiffs include Republican members of the Senate and the Assembly who claim that their voting rights are being diluted because of the majority's alleged violation of Proposition 13's two-thirds vote requirement. To my mind, at least, that makes this case look more like an internal affair of the Legislature, and hence non-justiciable in its present form (until legislation is actually enacted). We'll see if the courts agree. Here is a link to the Court of Appeal's docket for the case.

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