Democrat Leftist Governor Gavin Newsom of California is the best advertisement in the country for the Republican Party. He now makes another move that will thrill his base and defy the US Constitution. But California gave up on the US Constitution years ago. Jonathan Turley provides details.
Personal thanks to @GavinNewsom as I am officially leaving the dystopian nightmare of California for the free state of Florida. My successful business and all my employees are coming with.
See you soon, @GovRonDeSantis!
— Dave Rubin (@RubinReport) December 13, 2021
Turley: California Gov. Gavin Newsom thrilled many this weekend by saying that his administration will model a new law on the Texas abortion ban, letting private citizens sue anyone who makes or sells assault weapons or ghost guns.
It won’t work. Legally, that is. It will be hugely successful politically, but not without costs to the state and potential litigants.
Newsom denounced the Supreme Court in Women’s Health v. Jackson for refusing to enjoin the Texas law that allows people to sue anyone who “aids or abets” an abortion performed after about six weeks. That led to widespread calls for the passage of legislation to “codify Roe,” including from the White House.
Newsom, however, wants to replicate the law to limit Second Amendment rights the way that conservatives used it to limit reproductive rights.
“I am outraged by yesterday’s U.S. Supreme Court decision allowing Texas’ ban on most abortion services to remain in place,” Newsom said in a statement. “But if states can now shield their laws from review by the federal courts that compare assault weapons to Swiss Army knives, then California will use that authority to protect people’s lives, where Texas used it to put women in harm’s way.”
Newsom said his staff will be working with the Legislature and California Attorney General Rob Bonta to craft the bill to let citizens sue anyone who “manufactures, distributes or sells an assault weapon or ghost gun kit or parts” in California. They could seek damages of at least $10,000 per violation plus costs and attorney’s fees.
Good luck with that.
The problem is multifold. First, the Texas law was quickly found to be unconstitutional by the district court, as would the California law. Indeed, many of us declared the law as facially unconstitutional under existing precedent on the day that it was enacted. That means that, while there are litigation costs, those costs would decrease quickly as other courts declare challenges to be unconstitutional.
Second, the Supreme Court just allowed pre-enforcement challenges so the California law could be challenged to avoid any “chilling effect” on gun rights. Eight out of nine justices agreed that such early challenges are permissible against those with enforcement responsibilities in the abortion area. As a state that has led efforts to limit gun rights, there are a host of such officials with similar licensing powers in California.
Third, and most importantly, Newsom limited the law to gun manufactures, distributors and sellers,”excluding a wider array of purchasers or “aiders and abetters.” The Texas law was so menacing because it exposed such a wide array of people to potential lawsuit. It would not be quite as popular to go after gun owners or gun rights groups. Yet, Newsom is targeting business that are going to be less intimidated by such litigation costs in a law that would be clearly unconstitutional.
That is why, if the law is crafted as Newsom suggests, this won’t work legally. Nevertheless, there will be much cooing on cable programs at the cleverness of Newsom and the comeuppance for conservatives. Newsom will seize the moment in terms of popularity while leaving others to bear the costs in later failed litigation.