Chula Vista Citizens v. Norris, No. 12-55726 (9th Cir. 2014)Annotate this Case
This case arose from a political battle concerning labor unions. Chula Vista Citizens and the Associations sought to place an initiative on the Chula Vista municipal ballot. The City of Chula Vista requires that initiative proponents be electors (the elector requirement). Because Cal. Elec. Code 9202(a) requires proponents to sign a notice of intent, the effect of Cal. Elec. Code 9207 is that the identities of official proponents are disclosed to would-be signatories of the petition (the petition-proponent disclosure requirement). Plaintiffs filed suit under 42 U.S.C. 1983, alleging that the elector and petition-proponent disclosure requirements, both facially and as applied, violated the First Amendment. Determining that the elector requirement was properly before the court because it implicated the chilling of expression and because the parties had not indicated that there were many pending actions in the California courts, the court affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants as to the elector requirement where the Associations did not have a First Amendment right to serve as official proponents of local ballot initiatives. The court reversed the district court's grant of summary judgment to defendants as to the petition-proponent disclosure requirement where the requirement was unconstitutional because they require official initiative proponents to identify themselves on the face of initiative petitions.