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Update on California Supreme Court Prop B Ruling

As MEA has previously reported, on August 2 the California Supreme Court ruled that the City of San Diego violated the law when it placed Proposition B on the ballot in 2012.

The Court’s ruling unequivocally vindicated MEA’s arguments first made back in 2011 before the pension “reform” measure even qualified for the ballot, and the Court rejected all of the City’s arguments defending Prop B. With respect to remedy, the Court sent the case back to the Court of Appeal to determine “the appropriate judicial remedy for the violation identified” by the California Supreme Court. (Attached is an opinion piece written by MEA attorney Ann Smith and published in the Union Tribune regarding the Court’s decision.)

After the unanimous (7-0) ruling was issued, the City of San Diego filed a petition asking the Court to “rehear” the case. Last week, the Court rejected the City’s petition, making its ruling against the City final and transferring jurisdiction back to the Court of Appeal for a decision on the remedy.

Yesterday, MEA attorney Ann Smith submitted the attached supplemental opening brief with the Court of Appeal, arguing that, in keeping with the Supreme Court’s findings and conclusions, the Court should affirm the “make whole” remedy previously ordered by the Public Employment Relations Board and add its judicial order invalidating Proposition B because the City violated State Law when amending its charter.

Also last week, the City announced that it will now seek review of the case by the United States Supreme Court. The City intends to argue that the California Supreme Court’s decision violates the free speech rights of elected officials and therefore violates the First Amendment of the Constitution of the United States. It is unclear how this last “Hail Mary” pass by the City will affect the timing of the remedy process in the Court of Appeal, but our expectation is that the US Supreme Court will deny review of the City’s petition because the legal issues at play in this case have nothing to do with the First Amendment, and the California Supreme Court’s ruling does not affect the free speech rights of any elected official.

Once this remedy phase is complete (the timing is unknown), MEA will be able to begin the bargaining process to resolve and implement the “make whole” aspects of this case and determine what the future holds for affected employees. As things progress on this legal front, MEA will continue to keep you posted! In the meantime, if you have specific questions don’t hesitate to call MEA at 619-264-6632.

Unions’ Supp Opening Brief
SDUT — Ann Smith Editorial