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Marine Forests Soc'y v. California Coastal Comm'n

ELR Citation: 35 ELR 20132
Nos. No. S113466, (Cal., 06/23/2005)

The court held that California Coastal Act provisions governing the appointment and tenure of members of the California Coastal Commission do not violate the separation-of-powers clause of the California Constitution. The California Constitution, unlike the U.S. Constitution, does not categorically preclude the legislature from enacting a statutory provision authorizing the legislature itself to appoint a member or members of an executive commission or board. Nevertheless, it does impose limits upon the legislative appointment of executive officers. If a statute allows the legislative appointment to intrude upon the "core zone" of the executive functions of the governor, or if the statutory scheme permits the legislative appointing authority to retain undue control over an appointee's executive actions, the statute would be unconstitutional. In light of the commission's functions, the origin, purpose, and operative effect of the commission's current appointment and tenure structure, and the numerous safeguards incorporated within the California Coastal Act that serve to ensure that the actions of commission members adhere to statutory guidelines and are not improperly interfered with or controlled by the legislative appointing authority, the current provisions do not violate the California Constitution.