Strike two for Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's preferred plan to redraw political districts, courtesy of the Third District Court of Appeals.
In a 2-1 ruling, the court upheld the original ruling that Proposition 77 should not be on the November 8th special election ballot. As you'll remember, the issue here was whether the changes made the initiative's wording (one version was submitted to the Attorney General, a different version was circulated for signatures) made the measure ineligible for the ballot.
Last month, a Sacramento judge said the constitutional rules-- that the same measure placed in circulation be submitted to state officials-- were simple enough, and that Prop 77 should be yanked from the ballot.
During oral arguments before the appeals court last Friday, it was hard to get a good read on what would happen. Associate Justice Coleman Blease seemed very much receptive to arguments against Prop 77, while Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland seemed to lean towards a ruling in favor of the initiative, and Associate Justice Kathleen Butz was largely silent.
Today, Justice Butz was the swing vote, siding with Justice Blease.
And as you might have guessed, this isn't the end of the story. Ted Costa, the proponent of the initiative, says he will appeal today's ruling to the California Supreme Court. The high court will have the final say, and will need to do it quickly: the deadline for materials to be sent to the official state printer is now only 6 days away.
You can read the opinion here.