A Northern California judge has issued a ruling limiting Gov. Gavin Newsom’s use of emergency powers during COVID-19.
Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman issued an injunction barring the governor from taking executive action that “changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy,” rebuking a governor who has relied heavily on executive orders to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Heckman’s ruling determined that Newsom’s executive order to send out the vote-by-mail ballots, as well as enact other precautions to reduce the threat of spreading the virus during the elections process, violated the California Constitution because it created new law. Under the state’s constitutional separation of powers, only the Legislature has the power to create laws.