California Supreme Court Asked to Hear Case on Duration of Residency Requirement for Legislative CandidatesApril 5th, 2012
On March 29, Heidi Fuller asked the California Supreme Court to hear her constitutional election law case. Here is the petition. The California Constitution, since 1879, has said no one can run for the legislature who has not lived in the district for a year before filing. However, since 1973, the California Secretary of State has not enforced this part of the Constitution. She says the California Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution.
However, federal case law on duration of residency requirements for candidates is virtually unanimous that these requirements do not violate the U.S. Constitution. Fuller meets the duration of residency requirement, but one of her opponents in 2010 did not. She sued to have the state Constitutional provision enforced. The Superior Court held that courts have jurisdiction for a lawsuit like this, but ruled that the California Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution. The State Court of Appeals held that courts cannot even hear a case like this, because only the legislature can decide if a candidate should be, or should have been, on a primary ballot to run for the legislature. The problem with this is that it would leave open no barrier to an underage candidate for the legislature to be on the ballot, or a candidate who does not even live in California. Fuller is asking the State Supreme Court to take this interesting case.