PROPOSITION 187: Court Accepts Mediation Route
The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals yesterday agreed to Gov. Gray Davis' request that the court mediate the case of Proposition 187, the 1994 voter initiative that denied illegal immigrants health, education and welfare benefits (Gunnison, San Francisco Chronicle, 4/27). Chief circuit mediator David Lombardi Jr. signed the order, which stays formal court proceedings on the case until June 18. But attorneys "said that date is likely to mark the start rather than the conclusion of negotiations with Lombardi's staff that could take several months." What's more, further stays are anticipated as the mediation talks progress, according to the lawyers (Cooper, Sacramento Bee, 4/27). The case will be transferred from the court's "docket of contested cases to its mediation program, in which the two sides meet with a staff lawyer to try to reach a settlement." The Davis administration and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) will represent the two sides at the mediation table, which leaves out "anti-immigration forces that put Prop. 187 on the ballot," and say the mediation cannot be fair without their representation. But Davis spokesperson Michael Bustamante said the governor would "talk with all of the parties," including supporters of the initiative, to come to a settlement. Opponents are also skeptical of compromise and many legal experts note that constitutionality is not an issue that takes well to mediation. LULAC has filed a brief with the court outlining areas that "are very likely subject to compromise" (Egelko, AP/Contra Costa Times, 4/27).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.