Lacking U.S. Citizenship, These San Francisco Parents Are Excited To Vote Again

A court ruling has restored the right of noncitizen San Francisco parents to vote in local school board elections, giving them a say in their children’s education and reopening the door to a key democratic right previously only granted to U.S. citizens.

In 2018, San Francisco began to allow noncitizen parents or guardians with at least one minor child living in the city to vote in the San Francisco Unified School District Board of Education elections.

However, after a few elections with a relatively small number of noncitizen participants, legal challenges ensued. A San Francisco Superior Court judge ruled the practice unconstitutional in 2022. The city appealed the ruling immediately.

A year later, the First District Court of Appeal sided with the city.

“Neither the plain language of the Constitution nor its history prohibits legislation expanding the electorate to noncitizens,” Justice Mark Simons wrote in the decision. “The relevant constitutional provisions authorizing home rule permit charter cities to implement such an expansion in local school board elections.”

Thrilled To Vote Again

Many noncitizen parents who voted in local school board elections before are excited about the news.

Amos Lim, a gay father originally from Singapore, said he’s relieved to see this latest ruling, especially since the new school year is starting soon. His child is about to begin the 10th grade.

“I hope this ruling will encourage more immigrant parents to vote,” Lim told The Standard. “Having a voice at the ballot box to decide the educational goals for my daughter is very important to me.”

The next school board election is scheduled for November 2024.

“We are public school parents,” said Angela Zhou, an immigrant from China and an activist during the 2022 school board recall. “Even though we are not U.S. citizens, we should not be silenced.”

As Zhou’s son will attend 12th grade at Galileo High School this coming school year, he will have graduated before the November 2024 school board election, meaning his parents will not be eligible to vote But Zhou’s still excited because many other Chinese American parents can weigh in.

Another well-known noncitizen parent is Siva Raj, an Indian immigrant who founded the school board recall campaign in 2022. He also voted for the first time last year after moving to the U.S. for more than a decade. Raj told The Standard that he’s glad to see the new ruling and “totally will vote again” next year.

China, Singapore and India do not recognize dual citizenship, which prompts many immigrants to remain green card holders in the U.S. instead of acquiring U.S. citizenship. Except for permanent residents, other noncitizens include visa holders, refugees and undocumented immigrants.

James Lacy, an attorney and conservative author from Orange County, is the leader behind the lawsuit that aims to overturn noncitizen voting.

In a statement to The Standard, he said the latest ruling denigrates the integrity of elections by devaluing citizenship as the key qualification for voting. He made an example saying foreign diplomats, like Chinese consulate staff members living in San Francisco, could be qualified to vote in local school board elections based on the ruling.

Click here to read the full article in the SF Standard

When California Laws Go Too Far, the Courts Intervene

Early explorers believed California to be an island, and while its physical attachment to the rest of North America eventually became evident, it nevertheless has sought to forge an island-like cultural and political identity – a “nation-state” in Gov. Gavin Newsom’s description.

There are, however, limits. Legally, California is still just one of 50 states and thus is subject to federal law, including the U.S. Constitution.

California politicians sometimes ignore that basic fact of civic life in their zeal to lead the parade. But when they cross the legal line, as defined in federal law, they get their comeuppance.

For instance, the federal appeals court that oversees California recently overturned an ordinance passed by city leaders in Berkeley, one of the state’s more adventuresome jurisdictions, to ban natural gas service in newly constructed buildings.

The 2020 ordinance, cheered by environmentalists as a gesture to reduce greenhouse gases, was challenged by the California Restaurant Association for violating federal authority to set energy efficiency standards.

A federal trial judge upheld the ordinance but the 9th District Court of Appeals declared that federal law did, indeed, preempt the issue so Berkeley could not strike it out on its own.

California’s governors and legislators are also prone to enacting new laws that run afoul of the U.S. Constitution, federal law or, in some cases, the state’s own constitution.

Chris Micheli, a lobbyist who is also a student of legislative procedure and teaches at the University of the Pacific’s McGeorge School of Law,  has assembled a lengthy list of legislative decrees that later fared poorly in the courts.

They include such recent laws as those mandating female and members of “unrepresented communities” on corporate boards and prohibiting doctors from making politically incorrect statements about COVID-19.

One entire class of California laws, those imposing sometimes unique restrictions on private gun ownership, has fallen prey to constitutional challenges in recent months, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court’s expansive interpretations of the constitutional right to bear arms.

While gun organizations have been challenging California’s array of gun control laws for years, the Supreme Court’s landmark Bruen decision last year, invalidating New York’s almost total ban on the carrying of personal weapons, opened the door. One by one, California’s laws are being invalidated.

Just last month, for instance, a federal judge in Southern California overturned the state’s law prohibiting the sale of handguns that don’t meet stringent – and technically unworkable – safety requirements, declaring that it runs afoul of the Bruen decision.

Even before the Bruen decision, a San Diego federal judge, Roger Benitez, had tossed out California’s ban on magazines holding more than 10 rounds, the state’s ban on assault rifles, and a law requiring background checks for ammunition purchases.

Another law that fell recently was one dreamed up by Newsom and the Legislature as a symbolic stunt – authorizing lawsuits against some gun manufacturers with conditions that made defense almost impossible. It was patterned after a Texas law making it easier to sue those who performed abortions, and Attorney General Rob Bonta didn’t even try to defend it when the inevitable lawsuit challenged it.

Undeterred by the serial invalidation of California gun laws, Newsom and legislators are working on another measure that, they say, would fit within the constraints of the Bruen decision. Senate Bill 2 would create new standards for the issuance of concealed weapons permits and list a number of new places where carrying weapons would be prohibited, even by those having permits.

Click here to read the full article in CalMatters

Here Are the Arguments That Persuaded the 5th Circuit To Block OSHA’s Vaccine Mandate for Private Employers

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit yesterday stayed the Biden administration’s brand-new COVID-19 vaccine mandate for private employers, which took effect on Friday, when it was published in the Federal Register. The appeals court said the arguments made by the petitioners—a Louisiana supermarket chain and six employees of a Texas company that makes kitchen ventilation systems—”give cause to believe there are grave statutory and constitutional issues with the Mandate.”

The vaccine rule, which was announced in early September but was not unveiled until last Thursday, gives businesses with 100 or more employees two options: They can adopt a “mandatory vaccination policy” with limited exceptions, or they can require unvaccinated employees to wear face masks and undergo weekly COVID-19 testing. The White House described the mandate as part of a broader effort to boost the nationwide vaccination rate. The aim, it said, is to “reduce the number of unvaccinated Americans by using regulatory powers and other actions to substantially increase the number of Americans covered by vaccination requirements.”

But the federal government has no general authority to protect public health, control communicable diseases, or require vaccination, all of which are primarily state responsibilities. The administration therefore presented the vaccine mandate as an “emergency temporary standard” (ETS) issued by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which is charged specifically with protecting employees from workplace hazards. As the 5th Circuit indicated, that legal strategy leaves the mandate open to challenge on both statutory and constitutional grounds.

The plaintiffs in BST Holdings v. OSHA, who are represented by the Chicago-based Liberty Justice Center and Louisiana’s Pelican Institute for Public Policy, argue that the ETS exceeds the agency’s authority under the Occupational Safety and Health Act. Even if it didn’t, they say, empowering OSHA to issue such a sweeping order would exceed the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce and violate the nondelegation doctrine, which constrains lawmaking by executive agencies.

Click here to read the full article at

Trump-picked judge confirmed to liberal 9th Circuit Court

CourtThe Senate on Tuesday confirmed President Trump’s nominee to be a judge on the liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in a party-line vote – and, in a historic snub, the White House ignored the input of the judge’s two Democratic home-state senators in the process.

The aggressive and unprecedented move to bypass the traditional “blue slip” consultation process and plow ahead with the confirmation comes as the Trump administration seeks to systematically erode left-wing dominance on the key appellate court, which Trump has called “disgraceful” and politically biased.

With a sprawling purview representing nine Western states, the appellate court has long been a thorn in the side of the Trump White House, with rulings against his travel ban policy and limits on funding to “sanctuary cities.” A lawsuit is currently pending before the 9th Circuit concerning Trump’s emergency declaration over border security — and Trump had sarcastically predicted that Democrats would purposefully file suit in the San Francisco-based appellate court to improve their odds. …

Click here to read the full article from Fox News

Blacklisting the Boy Scouts

California judges can belong to the American Civil Liberties Union, the National Organization for Women, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the NAACP, La Raza, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, Alcoholics Anonymous, the Sierra Club, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, the NRA, and even the North American Man/Boy Love Association. But thanks to the state’s radical Supreme Court, judges will soon be barred from participation in the venerable Boy Scouts of America. Why? Because the Boy Scouts promote, among other things, heterosexuality as a norm—a view shared by a majority of Americans. Effective next January, California state judges can no longer serve as scoutmasters, assistant scoutmasters, committee chairs, or in any other volunteer positions with the BSA that requires “membership” in the organization. Judges wishing to serve as adult leaders in the BSA will soon have to abandon their First Amendment rights as a condition of employment. Legal challenges are certain.

The committee contends that its blacklisting of the BSA will “promote the integrity of the judiciary” and “enhance public confidence” in the impartiality of the judiciary. Not likely. This decision illustrates how out of touch (and intolerant) the legal establishment’s ruling elite has become. That the Boy Scouts—chartered by Congress in 1916—could be formally shunned in this manner should disturb all Americans who cherish freedom of association and a pluralistic society.

To ensure their fairness, impartiality, and integrity, California’s judges and judicial officers—the largest state judiciary in the nation, numbering more than 2,100 members—are subject to a code of ethics for their conduct on and off the bench. An 11-member Commission on Judicial Performance determines violations, and judges may be subject to discipline ranging from formal admonishment to removal from the bench. Canon 2C of the code states: “A judge shall not hold membership in any organization that practices invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, gender, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or sexual orientation.” On January 21, the California Supreme Court voted unanimously to eliminate an exception to Canon 2C that had permitted judges to belong to a “nonprofit youth organization,” even if it otherwise fell within the scope of the prohibition. The change was clearly focused on the Boy Scouts, which bars adult leaders who are “open or avowed homosexuals.”

“Sexual orientation” was first added to Canon 2C’s list of protected characteristics—accompanied by the “nonprofit youth organization” exclusion, branded by some the Boy Scout loophole—in 1996. LGBT activist groups immediately began a campaign against the Scouts. The state Supreme Court declined to eliminate the exception as recently as 2003, which shows how much California’s political and cultural landscape has shifted over the past decade. Fifteen years ago, the U.S. Supreme Court expressly recognized, in Boy Scouts of America v. Dale, that the organization had the constitutional right to exclude certain people on free association and expression grounds.

Last year, in an effort to end the controversy regarding its stance on gays, the national Boy Scouts organization modified its policies. Now youths may participate in scouting regardless of sexual orientation. Unfortunately, the BSA’s compromise merely signaled weakness. LGBT groups will only accept full capitulation, which the state Supreme Court’s action will hasten.

Canon 2 defines “invidious discrimination” as “arbitrary,” but by conflating the BSA’s longstanding membership policies with, say, a country club that excludes blacks, the court’s decision shows contempt for traditional views shared by most Americans. The canon’s premise is logically flawed: a judge can hold opinions, and even belong to organizations that share those opinions, without harboring animus or lacking impartiality toward litigants (or lawyers) who hold different opinions. An atheist judge is not necessarily biased against believers, and vice versa; a liberal judge is not necessarily biased against conservatives, and a tee-totaling judge not necessarily biased against drinkers, and so on. Being an adult leader in the Boy Scouts does not, in and of itself, make a judge biased against homosexuals. The court’s decision is the essence of intolerance—banishing dissent for the sake of conformity.

Since the Boy Scouts of America was founded in 1910, more than 110 million young men have participated as members. The BSA currently has more than 2.6 million youth members and more than 1 million volunteer adult leaders. Eagle Scouts have landed on the moon (Neil Armstrong), served as president of the United States (Gerald Ford), and excelled as athletes (Henry Aaron), businessmen (J. Willard Marriott, Sam Walton), and filmmakers (Steven Spielberg). Norman Rockwell, who began his prolific career as an illustrator for the Boy Scouts’ handbooks and art director for Boy’s Life magazine, is one of America’s beloved artists. The Scouts do extraordinary work with inner-city kids, providing them with skills and a sense of structure, and instilling discipline. The BSA is one of the most successful youth organizations in history.

Blacklisting this iconic organization is vindictive, mean-spirited, and profoundly insulting to generations of Americans who have participated in scouting. Traditional moral beliefs cannot be arbitrarily banished from the public square, and judges cannot be denied their constitutional rights of free association in order to serve on the bench. This unwarranted rule change—a triumph of political correctness over liberty—brings dishonor to the California judiciary.