Case for fair representation moves forward

State files emergency motion to overturn Judge’s order

State of Jefferson supporters will head to court in Sacramento on Aug. 25 to see if Federal Court Judge Kimberly Muller’s order last week that the Chief Magistrate appoint a three-judge panel to hear the case filed by Citizens for Fair Representation against Secretary of State Alex Padilla, will stand.

CFR filed the lawsuit in May over what they say is a lack of representation in the California Legislature, and a dilution of vote.

The non-profit organization represents citizens from 21 rural Northern California counties, including Colusa County.

Just hours after the Judge rendered her Aug. 11 decision not to dismiss the case, but that it should be heard by a panel of judges, the State’s attorney filed an ex parte (emergency) motion to “reconsider” the order.

The significance of a three-judge panel is paramount, as issues decided by the panel have the right to be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, CFR spokesman Mark Baird said.

Baird said the case would ask two important questions: Can one State senator properly represent 1 million people? Can one State assemblyman properly represent one-half million people?

“Californians have no representation in the state house,” Baird said, in a statement. “The lobbyists and the unions own California, and we intend to put the people back in charge of the government though smaller districts, where it is cheap and easy to get rid of an incumbent who fails to serve the people. California has the worst representation ratio in the United States, and we will prove that to be unconstitutional.”

Currently, California’s population is just under 40 million, represented by 40 State senators and 80 Assembly members. It is the same number of elected representatives that in 1862 represented 416,640 people.

Prior to the 1964 Supreme Court’s historic “one-man one-vote” decision, nearly every county in California was represented by one State senator. Currently, 11 northern rural counties have one senator whose vote is diluted by 15 senators representing the single county of Los Angeles, the claimants said.

According to CFR, California’s imbalance of representation ranks the worst on the list of 50 states.

Even the small state of New Hampshire has 400 in their State House of Representatives, with one representative for fewer than 4,000 people. There are also 24 State senators, or one for every 55,000 citizens, they said.

“New Hampshire’s ratio of balance closely models the representation that CFR is seeking to accomplish for California,” claimants said, in a written statement. “If CFR is successful, this would be history in the making, nor only for their 21 counties, but all of California’s 58 counties, and those in other states.”

The State’s emergency motion will be heard at 10 AM on Aug. 25, in Federal Court in Sacramento.

Another hearing is set for 10 AM on Sept. 8, for the hearing on CFR’s motion to amend their complaint to include additional plaintiffs.