Schwarzenegger, Brown Respond to State High Court

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The State Supreme Court ordered Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Attorney General Jerry Brown to respond to an emergency petition filed by the Pacific Justice Institute (PJI) on Tuesday.

The PJI wants the high court to force the governor and attorney general to defend Proposition 8. The Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento already declined that request, and the PJI is now appealing that ruling to the State Supreme Court. The governor and the attorney general filed their responses immediately (as the court required) and will likely decide by week's end whether to grant the petition.

Why does this matter? It matters a lot because the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals is raising questions about whether private citizens have legal standing to defend a state law or ballot measure. If the Court decides they do not have standing ... and neither the governor or attorney general defend Prop. 8 ... it may be tossed out and never even make it to the U.S. Supreme Court.

UC Davis Law Professor Vik Amar (who is writing a series of articles on this issue of standing) says while the decision by Schwarzenegger and Brown not to defend Prop. 8 is, well, defensible, it's also pretty unusual. He adds that they haven't done a very good job explaining their decisions. So the State Supreme Court may simply want more information before deciding on the merits of this petition.

Read the Governor Schwarzenegger's letter.

Read Attorney General Brown's letter.

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