A civil rights lawsuit that challenged California’s recall election system, as well the candidate being recalled not being allowed to be in the list of replacement candidates, was rejected by the United States Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this week.
The case, A.W. Clark v. Shirley Weber, first challenged the recall system in August of 2021. Clark, a Newsom supporter, hoped to block the September 2021 recall election of Governor Gavin Newsom, contending that the system was unfair, as the first vote in a recall asking voters if they want the recall to happen would need only 51% of the vote, while a candidate chosen to replace him in the second vote only needed less than 20% of the vote. Clark also contended that the recall violated his voting rights by not including Newsom on the list of replacement candidates.
The U.S. District Court heard the case in late August of 2021 and quickly ruled in favor of Weber, and in the turn, the state, upholding the recall election and dashing Clark’s attempt at blocking the election. Specifically, District Judge Michael Fitzgerald noted that there is nothing unconstitutional about California’s recall laws and noted that the person being recalled may as well have been beaten in a general election due to a resounding pro-recall vote in the first place.
“There is nothing unconstitutional about placing in one ballot a vote for or against the recall of the governor and then a vote for a replacement candidate,” said Judge Fitzgerald. “Plaintiff plainly feels disgruntled that a replacement candidate with a small plurality might replace a sitting governor who, based on a robust “no” vote, might well have beaten that same replacement candidate in a general election. As that may be, such disgruntlement raises no federal constitutional issues and certainly does not give the federal judiciary the right to halt the mammoth undertaking of this gubernatorial recall election.”
A recall lawsuit
While Newsom later did win and avoided being recalled the next month, Clark filed for an appeal, bringing it to the federal appeals court this year despite legal commentators giving it virtually no chance of it being ruled in his favor and a bill, SCA 6, authored by previously recalled Senator Josh Newman (D-Fullerton), that would have the Lt. Governor replace Governor in the event of a recall instead of a vote on replacement candidates, moving its way through the Assembly and Senate.
- New Bill To Repeal Prop. 47, Lower Felony Theft Threshold of $950 to $400 - January 31, 2023
- Bill To Increase Media and State Official Access To Prisons Introduced - January 31, 2023
- Infant Formula Stockpile Bill Moves To Assembly Health Committee - January 30, 2023