CALIFORNIA — The state Supreme Court decided June 17 to review an appellate court decision on a student newspaper’s right to sue Gov. Pete Wilson and the University of California Board of Regents for violations of the state’s open meetings law.
The Daily Nexus, the student newspaper of the University of California at Santa Barbara, claims that the governor, who serves on the board, privately contacted several board members prior to a public meeting on July 20, 1995, and locked-up votes to end affirmative action.
The case reached the state Supreme Court after two lower courts dismissed Gov. Wilson’s motion to throw out the case.
Nullifying the vote would mean few, if any, changes since Proposition 209, passed by California voters in November 1996, also bans affirmative action programs, according to a June Associate Press article.
In a final effort to dismiss the trial proceedings and to prevent members of the Board of Regents from testifying, the governor filed a motion with the state Supreme Court to dismiss the suit.
In mid-June, the state Supreme Court agreed to hear the case.
Dan Tokaji, attorney for the The Daily Nexus, said that his client remains adamant about continuing the case despite the Governor’s efforts to stall the trial.
“We very much look forward to the state Supreme Court hearing our case,” Tokaji said. “It raises the question of whether the Regents can conduct a secret meeting, lie about it and walk off scot-free.
Written briefs for the case are due within the next two months. No date has been set for oral arguments.
If the state Supreme Court allows the case to continue, the case will go into the discovery phase in the state superior court.