Judge upholds ruling to limit Gov. Newsom's powers during pandemic

Gov. Gavin Newsom via Twitter.

A tentative State Superior Court ruling against California Governor Gavin Newsom was finalized on Friday.

A Northern California County judge decided Newsom overstepped his authority when he changed state law during the COVID-19 pandemic in violation of California's constitution.

Sutter County Superior Court Judge Sarah Heckman made her tentative ruling the day before the election regarding one of Newsom's executive orders from June. His order required election officials to establish hundreds of locations statewide where voters could cast their ballots -- something lawmakers would end up approving. 

The lawsuit against the governor was brought on by Republican Assemblymen James Gallagher and Kevin Kiley, who released the following joint statement. 

"Today, the Court confirmed that Gavin Newsom does not rule California and that we are still a nation of laws. California has not been well-served by one-man rule. A return to representative government will be best for public health and the economy. The Governor must accept this ruling as a fundamental principle of our democracy and govern himself accordingly.”

The lawsuit challenged the governor's executive order and what the assemblymen called an "abuse of separation of powers." 

The judge's ruling broadly barred Newsom "from exercising any power under the California Emergency Services Act which amends, alters, or changes existing statutory law or makes new statutory law or legislative policy.”

The Republican assemblymen said the judge's final ruling, through a permanent injunction, prevents the governor from unilaterally making these decisions, moving forward. 

Newsom had requested to delay the enforcement of the decision, but that request was denied. 

Associated Press contributed to this story.