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State high court blocks measure from ballot

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POSTED August 11, 2014 7:05 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The California Supreme Court on Monday blocked an advisory measure backed by Democrats from the November ballot.

By a 5-1 vote, the court ordered the removal of Proposition 49, which would have asked voters if they want a federal constitutional amendment to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s so-called Citizens United ruling allowing unlimited corporate spending in elections.

The majority opinion said no harm will come from removing the nonbinding measure while courts determine its validity. The court said it would consider the issue in more detail in September.

Writing separately, Justice Goodwin Liu agreed with the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, an anti-tax group that filed a lawsuit seeking to remove the measure from the ballot. The group argued that advisory measures are not a proper use of the ballot.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said she would have allowed placing the proposition on the ballot, as a divided appeals court had ruled earlier.

The bill to place the measure on the ballot was introduced by Sen. Ted Lieu, D-Torrance, and it passed over Republicans’ opposition. Brown, a Democrat, let the bill become law without his signature. Lieu’s Sacramento office didn’t return a phone call placed late Monday.

Michele Sutter, chair of the Yes on 49 Committee called the Supreme Court decision “unbelievable” and “unbearable.”

“They are telling us that the constitutional amendment process is no longer available to the people,” Sutter said.

A phone call to the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association late Monday wasn’t immediately returned.

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