SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KGET) — California’s Court of Appeal justices bombarded questions at both sides of the case surrounding Gov. Gavin Newsom’s use of executive power Tuesday.
The oral arguments in Sacramento came after Newsom appealed a trial court’s decision last year that he overstepped his boundaries and violated the state’s Emergency Services Act with some executive orders and law changes amid the pandemic.
The California Department of Justice’s John Killeen is serving as Newsom’s counsel and he maintained the law supports the way Newsom used executive power in response to COVID-19.
“The trial court’s order creates serious practical problems,” Killeen explained. “A regime in which it’s every local government for itself creates serious problems for those local governments. The trial court has now issued a ruling that disrupted this exercise, inter-branch cooperation, and will have negative, real-world consequences going forward.”
Assembly Member James Gallagher, R-Yuba City, and Assembly Member Kevin Kiley, R-Rocklin, first sued the governor last year over the issue.
“You just say violation of separation of powers, that’s not enough. We need something more specific,” Associate Justice Ronald B. Robie told Gallagher
“The governor changed and amended state statute which he is not authorized to do. That is a legislative power,” Gallagher responded.
Justices noted the California Legislature has the power to undo the governor’s executive orders.
“Maybe this is the time for the legislature to end the emergency, if that’s what you think has happened, that it’s gone too far. That’s up to the legislature. You’re part of the legislature. Go do it,” Robie advised.
“That’s a question separate and apart from whether the statute that we have on the books, the Emergency Services Act, gives the governor powers that are beyond, that cross the line that our constitution sets out,” Kiley responded.
The Court of Appeal will have up to 90 days to release a decision.