CA Supreme Court ends effort to force Governor and AG to defend Prop 8

by on September 9, 2010  •  In Marriage

The Pacific Justice Institute, which got only a summary dismissal from an appeals court in its effort to obtain a court order directing Governor Schwarzenegger and AG Brown to defend Prop 8, got the same result in the California Supreme Court: "petition for review denied."

Earlier the court had told Schwarzenegger and Brown to respond to the mandamus petition, and both did. The Governor's Letter Brief and the Brown's Letter Brief (more detailed) both repeated the argument that these officials have the discretion to decide not to defend a provision of state law that is being challenged.

It is no surprise that they won. The order that had been sought is called a mandamus, and it is issued only when a government official fails to abide by an unambiguous legal requirement or when the official exercises her discretion in such an arbitrary manner that it constitutes an "abuse of discretion."  Declining to defend a provision in the state constitution is unusual to say the least – and it may be the first time that both officials have done so – but it does not fall into either category that would justify a court in issuing a mandamus order.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *