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McKool Smith, on behalf of the Planning and Conservation League, a nonprofit that advocates for sound planning and responsible environmental policy, prevailed in litigation seeking to remove California Proposition 9, the “Three Californias” initiative, from the November 2018 ballot. 

McKool Smith Principals Kirk Dillman, Robby Mockler and Michael Miguel filed an original writ petition in the Supreme Court on July 9, arguing that the sweeping changes contemplated by Proposition 9 would go far beyond what an initiative may accomplish under the California Constitution.  The Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling followed just nine days later.  Mockler explained, “Proposition 9 is misguided and unconstitutional for a host of reasons, and we are pleased that the Supreme Court acted quickly to prevent the harm to the State and the initiative process that would arise from allowing an invalid measure to go before the voters.” 

Proposition 9 would direct the Governor to ask Congress to approve three new states, provisionally named California, Southern California and Northern California, and direct the Legislature to “provide for the division and transformation of California.”  The California Constitution does not allow “revisions” of the Constitution through the initiative process; rather, changes to the fundamental structure of government must be accomplished through a vote of two thirds of the Legislature and ratification by the voters. 

The Supreme Court set a schedule for further briefing on whether Proposition 9 should be placed on another ballot in 2020 or struck down altogether.

With more than 185 trial lawyers across offices in Austin, Dallas, Houston, Los Angeles, Marshall, New York, Silicon Valley, and Washington, D.C., McKool Smith has established a reputation as one of America’s leading trial firms. Since 2006, the firm has secured ten nine-figure jury verdicts and twelve eight-figure jury verdicts. The firm has also won more VerdictSearch and The National Law Journal "Top 100 Verdicts" over the last ten years than any other law firm in the country. Courtroom successes like these have earned McKool Smith critical acclaim and helped the firm become what The Wall Street Journal describes as “one of the biggest law firm success stories of the past decade.” McKool Smith represents clients in complex commercial litigation, intellectual property, insurance recovery, bankruptcy, and white collar defense matters.

For additional information, please contact Michael R. Coston at 212-402-9450 or mcoston@mckoolsmith.com.

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