The Supreme Court had just yesterday finished its review of one controversial ballot proposition, when another one landed on its docket today. Governor Jerry Brown is asking the Supreme Court to overturn a superior court order, filed yesterday, that the Sacramento Bee calls “a major setback for Gov. Jerry Brown’s sweeping prison and parole initiative.” The order, which was sought by the California District Attorneys Association, prevents the circulation for voter signatures of an initiative that would make certain nonviolent felons eligible for early parole.
The governor’s emergency writ petition in Brown v. Superior Court is available here, and the two-volume appendix in support of the petition is available here and here. Attorney General Kamala Harris — a real party in interest in the writ proceeding — has already filed a letter supporting the writ petition.
From a very quick review of these materials, it appears the primary issue concerns the application of a recent change in the initiative process. The submission to the Attorney General of a proposed initiative now begins a 30-day public review period, during which the initiative proponent can “submit amendments to the measure that are reasonably germane to the theme, purpose, or subject of the initiative measure as originally proposed.” (Elections Code, section 9002.) It looks like Governor Brown submitted amendments that the superior court found to be not germane.
[Evening update: No stay, but expedited supplemental briefing, for governor’s writ petition.]