U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller has thrown out the lawsuit filed last year by the Citizens for Fair Representation against California Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
The group, which is affiliated with the State of Jefferson movement, said it would immediately begin work on an appeal.
“We are disappointed,” said Lew Manor, Colusa County Jefferson Committee spokesman. “We believe legally she should have sent this to a three-judge court.”
Judge Mueller dismissed the civil complaint on Nov. 28 for lack of standing, although the group believes that she is commanded by Shapiro v McManus (U.S. Supreme Court), and U.S. Code Title 24, Section 2284, and that she must request a three judge court be appointed in any dilution of vote case.
The group’s civil complaint against Padilla alleged that California’s large legislative districts disenfranchise certain citizens, particularly ethnic minorities, Native Americans, economically-disadvantaged people, and those who live in rural areas.
At the center of the lawsuit is a law passed by the Legislature in 1879 that capped the number of seats at 80 in the Assembly and 40 in the State Senate, when the state’s population was about 440,000.
Now, almost 150 years later, with population numbers almost 40 million, the number of representatives remains the same, which Mark Baird, spokesperson for Citizens for Fair Representation, said dilutes the votes of California citizens by about 400 percent.
Mueller ruled that the grievance brought by the CFR in the lawsuit was “too generalized to establish standing to sue in federal court.”
“Mueller’s orders say that since all Californians are equally disadvantaged with representative ratios of one million people per State Senator and 500,000 people per each Assembly member, that there is nothing the court will do.” Baird said. “California has the worst representative ratio in the nation. Not only is California’s ratio worse than any state in the nation, but far worse than most world governments.”
According to CFR, Judge Mueller, early in the case, did uphold the law ordering a three-judge court, only to make an unprecedented decision one week later to reverse her own ruling, admitting what Baird believes to be illicit conversations with another court.
CFR is dedicated to obtaining representation in districts small enough that legislators will be forced to consider those who elect them, no matter their political affiliation, Baird added.
Although Jefferson supporters believe forming a new state is the best solution, most believe an alternative could be increasing the number of representatives in the Assembly and apportioning one state senator for each of the 58 counties.
“And to that end, CFR will continue to fight for equal/fair representation and liberty for all California’s citizens,” Baird said. Meanwhile, the Colusa County Jefferson Committee will continue to support CFR throughout the appeals process, while working with voter integrity and second amendment groups on issues they also find important, Manor said.
The local group plans to meet from 2-4 PM on Jan. 19, at the Williams Chinese Restaurant. ■