Description: Challenge to automatic enrollment procedures for alternative, cleaner-energy electricity service provider.
Schmid v. Sonoma Clean Power
Filing Date Type File Action Taken Summary 01/23/2017 Memorandum Download Memorandum issued. Ninth Circuit Affirmed Dismissal of Constitutional Challenge to Automatic Enrollment Procedures for Seller of Cleaner Power. In an unpublished memorandum, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of an electricity customer’s constitutional claims concerning Sonoma Clean Power Authority’s (SCPA) procedure for automatically enrolling customers. SCPA is a not-for-profit public agency run by municipalities in northern California; it says it provides “cleaner electricity at a competitive rates from sources like solar, wind, geothermal and hydropower.” The Ninth Circuit said the customer’s First Amendment claims for compelled contribution to speech and compelled association or disassociation failed because “he has not been compelled to do anything.” The Ninth Circuit said that a Fourteenth Amendment economic substantive due process claim would fail even if the automatic enrollment procedures constituted a deprivation of the plaintiff’s liberty interest in contracting with the other electricity service provider because the government’s goals in establishing the regulatory framework in which SCPA operated—including reducing greenhouse gas emissions and reducing energy consumption—were legitimate legislative purposes.