On June 13, the California Supreme Court refused to hear Fuller v Bowen, the case over whether California’s one-year residency requirement for candidates for the legislature should be enforced. Ever since 1879, the California Constitution has said that candidates for the legislature must have lived in their district for one year before filing. However, in the mid-1970’s, the Attorney General and the Secretary of State determined that the California Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution, and therefore they have not enforced that part of the California Constitution.
Heidi Fuller, a candidate for the legislature who did meet the residency requirement, had sued the Secretary of State to force her to enforce the California Constitution. The Superior Court ruled that the court has jurisdiction, but that the California Constitution does violate the U.S. Constitution. Fuller appealed, and the California Court of Appeals had ruled that it is irrelevant whether the California Constitution violates the U.S. Constitution, but that only the legislature can judge the qualifications of candidates who seek to run for legislature. That decision will now stand. Under the logic of the State Court of Appeals decision, anyone can run for the legislature, whether they live in the district currently or not, and regardless of their age and citizenship.