Despite Recall, Embattled California Governor Keeps Pandemic Powers

California Governor Gavin Newsom’s use of emergency powers during the pandemic was recently upheld by three judges from the 3rd District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.

The judges ruled that the previous ruling by a lower court judge had “done too much unilaterally.”

The court had already previously stayed the ruling by Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman that determined that Gov. Newsom usurped the Legislature’s power unconstitutionally.

They explained in their ruling that Judge Sarah Heckman had “erred in interpreting the Emergency Services Act to prohibit the Governor from issuing quasi-legislative orders in an emergency.”

Heckman’s original decision in November issued a permanent injunction, which blocked Newsom from issuing executive orders that would create a new law.

Since the initial state of emergency issued in March of 2020, Newsom has given close to 50 executive orders due to the pandemic.

The original legal challenge to Newsom’s executive powers was filed by two California Republican state assemblymen, Kevin Kiley and James Gallagher. They disputed all executive orders issued by Governor Newsom under the Emergency Services Act.

Assemblymen Kiley and Gallagher indicated they expect to prevail with the California Superior Court.

In a written statement, they stated, “We have said from the beginning that the California Supreme Court will decide this case. The issue now squarely presented for the high court is whether the separation of powers still exists in California. We are confident it will uphold this bedrock principle of constitutional government.”

Recall looms

Newsom faces a strong challenge with a recall election looming in November.

The recall is quickly moving forward; after receiving 1,719,943 validated signatures, the governor will face the voters over dissatisfaction over his handling of the Covid pandemic, support for sanctuary city policies, water rationing, and rapidly growing homeless population.

In an email, Newsom brushed off the recall effort calling it a “Republican recall — backed by the RNC, anti-mask and anti-vax extremists, and pro-Trump forces who want to overturn the last election and have opposed much of what we have done to fight the pandemic.”

Newsom faces several announced opponents in the recall, including 2018 candidate John Cox, Olympian and reality star Caitlyn Jenner, and former San Diego mayor Kevin Faulconer.

The first campaign commercials, including one with a giant bear, indicate that the campaign to succeed the Democratic leader is rapidly heating up.