Friday, January 08, 2016

          Amicus Brief filed by Prof. Michael Salerno referenced in California Supreme Court decision on Advisory Ballot Measures

          Court reverses course in Jarvis vs. Padilla, deciding 6 to 1 that the Citizens United measure should not have been removed from the ballot.
          Professor Michael Salerno

          Professor Michael Salerno

          In August 2014, the California Supreme Court took an unprecedented step: It removed Proposition 49 from the November ballot, a measure proposed by the state legislature, by a vote of 6 to 1.

          The measure would have asked voters if Congress should propose a constitutional amendment overturning the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial 2010 Citizens United v. FEC decision, which allows unlimited corporate spending in political campaigns. In keeping the advisory measure off the November ballot, the court cited “uncertainty” about its legality.

          “The new standard of uncertainty” recalls UC Hastings clinical law professor Michael Salerno, “was not only a relaxation of what the court previously required to keep any measure off the ballot, it was the first time in California history the court removed a measure proposed by the legislature, a coordinate branch of government. This is the most significant separation of powers cases to come before the court in at least 50 years.”

          On Monday this week, in Jarvis vs. Padilla, the court reversed course, deciding 6 to 1 that the Citizens United measure should not have been removed from the ballot, referring to arguments in an amicus curiae brief from the UC Hastings’ Center for State and Local Government Law.

          Prof. Salerno, who directs UC Hastings’ legislation clinic, filed the brief in January 2015, with Steven Bonorris, interim executive director of the Center for State and Local Government Law, and graduate research fellow Nedda Black. They argued the Legislature may propose advisory measures and statutes to the voters, without constitutional “authorization,” because state constitutions, unlike the federal constitution, are limits rather than grant powers, and the California constitution does not limit these actions.

          The brief pointed to California’s history of the legislature involvement with the initiative process, and noted it potential “mix-and-match” approach to state lawmaking, involving both citizens and legislators acting through the ballot. “I think proponents of initiative measures and the legislature should be encouraged to work together to thoroughly vet proposals, refine, and improve them,” Prof. Salerno said, provided the proponents have the right to have their original measure on the ballot if the proponents and legislature cannot reach agreement. In this instance, if the legislature places a competing measure on the ballot, the voters have a greater choice.”

          Prof. Salerno spent more than 25 years working with California’s legislature, primarily with the state’s Office of the Legislative Counsel. From 2007 to 2008, he was executive director of the California Fair Political Practices Commission. He coauthored, with Professors Joseph Grodin and Darien Shanske, The California State Constitution, Second Edition (Oxford University Press, November 2015).

          ###

          Go to News Archive

          Share this Story

          Share via Facebook
          Share via TwitterShare via EmailPrint Friendly Version

          Other Recent Stories/ RSS

          Monday, November 20, 2017

          Professor Carol Izumi receives 2018 William Pincus Award for Outstanding Service and Commitment to Clinical Legal Education from the Association of American Law Schools (AALS)

          “Recipients are giants in the field and Carol belongs in their midst,” says Associate Dean Ascanio Piomelli.
          Friday, November 17, 2017

          Exciting New Spring 2018 Courses Focus on the Future

          Grabbing from the headlines and emphasizing innovation, courses like Legal Tech Startups, Advanced Immigration Law, and Stalking and Law will prepare UC Hastings students for next-level legal careers.
          Tuesday, November 14, 2017

          Port pilot John Betz ’96 discusses his non-legal career and the importance of education

          A tragic “Deadliest Catch” moment piqued a lifelong interest in the law and encouraged John to pursue a law degree at UC Hastings.
          Friday, November 03, 2017

          Thinkers & Doers: October 2017

          100 Things Warriors Fans Should Know & Do Before They Die -- Alum appointed Chargé d’Affaires -- The poisonous dynamic over who’s to blame for racism -- Prof. Williams on the Harvey Weinstein Effect -- Two More UC Hastings Grads Receive Judgeships from Gov. Brown -- Jury selection in the Steinle case -- and much more
          Wednesday, November 01, 2017

          Why do drug prices remain so high?

          "Because drug companies block competition," says Professor Feldman in a new study that examines all drugs on the market between 2005 and 2015, identifying and analyzing every instance in which the company added new patents or exclusivities. 
          Go to News Archive