Governor of California Gavin Newsom was fully prepared to disregard the constitution in order to take on Texas’s Governor, Greg Abbott. Newsom had a stunt planned where he chose to parody a Texas abortion law, however, he would turn the law into a controversial gun law that would closely model Texas’s abortion legislation, The Heartbeat Act, Senate Bill 8 (SB 8), which U.S. Federal Judge Roger Benitez of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California would have to decide on.
With Judge Benitez, Newsom could be almost assured that his gun legislation would be shot down. Judge Benitez has a reputation for striking down attempts at gun control, and was appointed to the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 2003 by President George W. Bush.
Most notably, in 2021, Judge Benitez made headlines when he issued a ruling striking down California’s ban on assault weapons. In his ruling, Judge Benitez argued that the ban violated the Second Amendment to the United States Constitution, which protects the right to bear arms. The ruling was met with widespread criticism from gun control advocates and was eventually overturned on appeal.
If Judge Benitez deciding the case chose to not accept of the legislation, Newsom, despite losing the case, would win and be able to prove his point that Gov. Abbott’s legislation surrounding the legality of abortions in Texas uses the same principles, therefore his should be turned down as well.
“There is no longer any doubt that Texas’ cruel anti-abortion law should also be struck down” pic.twitter.com/H7Xhlorubq
— Brandon Richards (@BrandonRichards) December 20, 2022
Fox News writes:
U.S. District Court Judge Roger Benitez of the Southern District of California issued a permanent injunction on Monday against the “fee-shifting” provisions of the state’s gun law – which empowers private citizens to bring lawsuits against manufacturers of illegal guns – declaring it unconstitutional.
The Texas measure makes abortions illegal after a fetal heartbeat can be detected and permits private citizens to sue abortion providers or anyone else who assists in a woman’s procurement of abortion for $10,000. This fee-shifting mechanism was designed to protect the 2021 law from judicial review to circumvent the Supreme Court’s old abortion precedent in Roe v. Wade. The high court has since overturned that precedent, permitting states to restrict, or liberalize, abortion.
Gavin Newsom would go on to state that this was in fact the ruling he wanted, thinking that it showed that the Texas heartbeat abortion bill is similarly unconstitutional.
However, Judge Benitez did not see these two cases as perfect replicas of each other. In the eyes of Judge Benitez, Newsom’s case clearly defied both the Second Amendment and Fourth Amendment. As the judge ruled that the gun control statute denies a prevailing plaintiff attorney’s fees. Judge Benitez added that the California version of the Texas abortion bill “applies to laws affecting a clearly enumerated constitutional right set forth in our nation’s founding documents.”