FROM:   Kim Alexander, CVF President
DATE:   May 25, 2001
RE:   More on Griset, plus a few clarifications

Hi Folks,

There is a story about the Griset case in today's San Francisco Chronicle that provides further details on yesterday's decision -- it's online at

I'd like to clarify that the California Supreme Court did not rule anew on the constitutionality of California's mass mailing disclosure law. While the ruling was a victory for voters in our view, it was based on a technicality and not on the larger question of whether the California political disclosure law is still constitutional in light of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in the 1995 McIntyre case, when an Ohio law that requires anyone distributing campaign material to identify themselves was found to be unconstitutional.

Though the California Supreme Court ruled against Griset once before, we don't know how the court would rule on a similar challenge today, since they based yesterday's decision on technical, not constitutional issues.

Here is an excerpt from the AP story that appeared on the Chronicle's web site:

"The court's decision came three months after oral arguments on the issue in which the justices appeared stuck in a procedural and technical quagmire, unsure whether it should even revisit its prior decision upholding the validity of the 1974 California voter referendum in question.

"Griset's attorney, James Bopp Jr. of Terre Haute, Ind., said the justices ducked a political hot potato by leaving intact the voter referendum without considering its constitutionality.

""There was an important public issue that they could have decided," Bopp said. "It would have been better if they had."

Because the case involves First Amendment speech that may be protected under the U.S. Constitution, Bopp said he was considering taking the case to federal court. "

Also, as several sharp CVF-NEWS subscribers pointed out to me, there are seven justices on the California Supreme Court, not nine.

-- Kim Alexander, California Voter Foundation, 916-325-2120,

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This page was first published on May 25, 2001 | Last updated on May 25, 2001
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