En Banc 9th Circuit Unanimously Rules No Anonymous Initiative Sponsors, Slams Role of Money in Initiative Process

You can find the ruling in the Chula Vista case here. This overturned an earlier panel decision, a result I expected. Now that the court has ruled this way, I think Supreme Court review is unlikely.

Footnote 11 is especially interesting—not surprising from Judge Reinhardt, but it is unanimous:

That the initiative process may not have served its purposes as well as its original proponents hoped does not affect our decision here. There is mounting evidence that corporations and ultra-wealthy individuals have come to dominate the initiative process. See  California Comm’n on Campaign Financing, Democracy By Initiative: Shaping California’s Fourth Branch of Government  264–74 (1992); Adam Winkler, Beyond Bellotti, 32 Loy. L.A. L. Rev. 133, 137–39 (1998); Jamin B. Raskin, Direct Democracy, Corporate Power and Judicial Review of Popularly-Enacted Campaign Finance Reform , 1996 Ann. Surv. Am. L. 393, 395–99 (1996); John S. Shockley, Direct Democracy, CampaignFinance, and the Courts: Can Corruption, Undue Influence, and Declining Voter Confidence Be Found? , 39 U. Miami L. Rev. 377, 393–96 (1985); J. Skelly Wright, Money and the Pollution of Politics: Is the First Amendment an Obstacle to Political Equality?, 82 Colum. L. Rev. 609, 622–25 (1982);  see also Michael Hiltzik,  On California Initiatives, Money Talked, The Public Interest Walked, L.A. Times, Nov. 5, 2014, http://tinyurl.com/latimeshiltzik; Norimitsu Onishi,  California Ballot Initiatives, Born in Populism, Now Come from Billionaires, N.Y. Times, Oct. 17, 2012, at A22; Ina Jaffe, Corporate Bucks Behind ‘Citizens’ Initiatives in Calif., Nat’l Public Radio, May 24, 2010, http://tinyurl.com/nprjaffe. However, the State of California and the City of Chula Vista are entitled to continue striving to guarantee self-government to their citizens, notwithstanding these shortcomings of direct democracy, and to improve the initiative process should they so desire.

Share this: