Saturday, April 04, 2009

California Supreme Court Refuses To Answer Certified Questions From 9th Circuit

Last year, in Barnes-Wallace v. Boy Scouts of America, the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals certified three questions to the California Supreme Court in a case challenging constitutionality of the City of San Diego's leasing city property, at nominal rents, to the Boy Scouts. (See prior posting.) The issues posed by the certified questions could have been a basis for the court to decide the case on state rather than federal Constitutional grounds. At issue is whether the lease violated state free exercise protections or the "no aid" provision of California's Constitution. The Scouts require members to affirm a belief in God. (See prior posting.) The full 9th Circuit denied en banc review of the case, but 6 dissenters argued that plaintiffs lacked standing. (See prior posting.) Now, in an unusual move the California Supreme Court has denied the 9th Circuit's request that it decide the questions of law certified to it. (Conference Results, 4/1/2009). Yesterday's Los Angeles Metropolitan News-Enterprise reports on the action.