On Thursday, the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) will take out full-page ads in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee condemning a scheme to overturn votes in California.

The ads call out activist judge Frank Roesch in Alameda County who recently ruled in favor of a union-backed lawsuit that overrides the votes of almost 10 million Californians. The ad headline reads: “Every Vote Counts.” However, the headline is crossed out, followed by the words “Not in California.” Below is the image of a Californian submitting a vote on Proposition 22 — a ballot measure that provided job protections for gig workers while allowing them to retain the flexibility of being freelancers rather than full-time employees. The ad then shows the ballot — which the voter assumes will be fairly counted — going directly into a shredder.

Prop 22 passed by more than 58 percent of the vote last fall — almost 10 million Californians voted for it. Now, thanks to one union-friendly judge, it’s as if those votes don’t count.

The lawsuit against Prop 22 was backed by the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). It’s not hard to see why — the SEIU is one of the main labor unions trying to organize gig economy workers. With Prop 22 out of the picture, it would be much easier for the union to convert gig workers — newly-classified as employees — into dues-paying members.

Frank Roesch’s decisions have also been repeatedly tossed out by higher courts, citing egregious bias in many cases:

  • In 2009, Roesch sided with public-sector unions when he ruled to invalidate California’s furlough powers during a “fiscal crisis,” only to be overruled by both a California appeals court and the state’s supreme court. That same year, Roesch unsuccessfully tried to block the City of Oakland from using public safety funds to hire desperately needed police officers. 
  • In 2012, a state appeals court found Roesch incorrectly tried to limit a man’s “constitutionally protected speech.” The next year, a California appeals court unanimously overruled a prior decision from Roesch, finding he not only “erred” on matters of fact but even misapplied a legal concept that’s commonly taught to first year law students. In 2018, two separate decisions from Roesch were overturned due to his egregious biases in the cases.  
  • Roesch has also been repeatedly disciplined for his improper conduct as a judge. In 2011, he was reprimanded by a state commission after repeatedly denigrating and insulting a plaintiff, even proclaiming the plaintiff asked “an idiotic question.” In October 2020, a state commission unanimously admonished Roesch due to his egregious biases in two cases he had presided over. 
  • In the first case, Roesch denied a party their “fundamental” right to due process as part of his efforts to ensure a preferred judicial outcome. In the other case, Roesch sought to deny a man ownership over a property he had legally bought due to unfounded suspicions about “cheating.”

Judge Roesch should be ashamed of his decision to put union interests over the will of the people. Passing Prop 22 was the first step toward reversing the havoc caused by AB 5. Fortunately, if Roesch’s track record holds true, an appeals court will easily see through his bias and validate the millions of voters who passed Prop 22.