The California Supreme Court's liberal and broad reading of a new state election law handed Gov. Jerry Brown a big legal victory Monday, allowing his controversial parole reform measure to appear on the November ballot.
At issue was Brown’s revision of an existing ballot measure on juvenile justice that proponents allowed the governor to change. Now it also includes major alterations to existing parole laws.
Critics, led by the California District Attorneys Association, sued arguing that the governor's changes violated an election law he signed and short circuited adequate review of the new measure by Attorney General Kamala Harris and the public.
A lower court agreed, but the state Supreme Court reversed that ruling Monday. The justices said the Legislature did not intend to preclude substantive amendments to existing ballot measures.
The 6-1 decision written by Justice Carol Corrigan quoted the election code enacted in 2014 and the Legislature's intent that amendments to ballot measures already submitted for public comment must be "reasonably germane to the theme, purpose, or subject of the initiative measure as originally proposed."