The Constitutional Challenge to AB 1899
The California High-Speed Rail Authority, CHSRA, relied on AB 1899 in its submission of funding plans in early 2017. (See first paragraph of Tos II Part I for more background.) To expedite their challenge to those funding plans, Petitioners brought a Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on the question at the heart of the case: whether AB 1889 was facially unconstitutional. As its name suggests, the motion eliminates the need for a trial to weigh the evidence. It is an especially appropriate process for resolving purely legal questions.
Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings
Petitioners filed their Memo in Support of Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings on First Cause of Action (for Declaratory Relief), along with a Request for Judicial Notice.
CHSRA filed its Opposition to the Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings, its RJN in Opposition to the Motion, and its Objections to Petitioners RJN.
Petitioners filed their Reply Brief in Support of Motion for Declaratory Relief, along with their Response to Objections to RJN and their own Objections to Respondents RJN.
The Court was unmoved by Petitioners’ oral arguments at the October 26, 2018 hearing, and adopted its tentative ruling without any changes. Seeing no likelihood of success at the trial court level, Petitioners negotiated a stipulated judgment in favor of Defendants, which enabled Petitioners to take the case up on appeal without having to litigate the other elements of the Tos II lawsuit. If the Court of Appeal reverses the trial court decision, holding that AB 1889 was unconstitutional, it will send the case back to the trial court to decide the remaining issues of the case. If the Court of Appeal affirms the trial court ruling, that will end the Tos II lawsuit.
Respondent filed their Opposition Brief.
The Motion for Calendar Preference was denied by the Presiding Judge.
Oral argument was heard on Monday, October 25 via Zoom. On November 30th, the Court released its Opinion affirming the lower court ruling. This was a tremendous disappointment, given all years of litigation leading up to this moment.
Undeterred, the Appellants then filed a Petition for Review with the California Supreme Court. The State of California and California High-Speed Rail Authority filed an Answer. Appellants filed a Reply to Answer.
On March 16, 2022, the California Supreme Court denied the Tos appellants’ Petition for Review. This marks the end of a very long fight–one that started back in 2011. The tenacious litigants (John Tos, Quentin Kopp, the Town of Atherton, Patricia Hogan-Giorni, Anthony Wynne, Community Coalition on High-Speed Rail, Transportation Solutions Defense and Education Fund, and California Rail Foundation) persevered despite the unlimited legal resources available to the other side.