SCOCAblog by the California Constitution Center and the Hastings Law Journal

California Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory First Contract Arbitration For Farmworkers

California Supreme Court Upholds Mandatory First Contract Arbitration For Farmworkers

One of Jerry Brown’s signature achievements during his first term of office was securing the passage of the California Agricultural Labor Relations Act of 1975 (ALRA). Farmworkers are excluded from coverage under the National Labor Relations Act, and the ALRA was the first (and still only) state statute to establish a comprehensive system for protecting the right of farmworkers to form unions and engage in collective bargaining. The ALRA has fallen short of its promise, however, due in part to the seasonal and migratory characteristics of farm labor, which pose obstacles to union organization and stable bargaining relationships and which...

Some Thoughts on California’s Fiscal Constitution

Some Thoughts on California’s Fiscal Constitution

The California Supreme Court currently has at least two cases relating to California’s fiscal constitution on its current docket;[1] two were decided this summer.[2] The phrase “fiscal constitution” is a term of art that designates all the many provisions of the constitution that dictate how governments can raise and spend money. The fiscal constitution of the federal government is very sparse. The fiscal constitution of the state of California is enormously lengthy and complicated. Many of its provisions date to 1879 and are contained in the thirty-six sections of Article XIII, but also see the twenty-three sections of Article XVI....

Opinion Analysis: Briggs v. Brown (2017) Part I

Opinion Analysis: Briggs v. Brown (2017) Part I

Introduction In the November 2016 elections, the California electorate narrowly approved Proposition 66: The Death Penalty Reform and Savings Act. Proposition 66 enacted a series of statutory reforms that can be grouped under three general categories: (1) provisions to expedite review in capital appeals and habeas corpus proceedings; (2) provisions governing the confinement of prisoners sentenced to death and the administration of the death penalty; and (3) provisions pertaining to the California Habeas Corpus Resource Center.[1] It was promptly challenged in court, and on August 24, 2017, the California Supreme Court issued its opinion on the challenge in Briggs v....

Opinion Analysis: S234148 California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland

Opinion Analysis: S234148 California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland

Authors: David A. Carrillo & Darien Shanske This is a preview of a forthcoming article, California Constitutional Law: Interpreting Restrictions on the Initiative Power (2017) 51 U.C. Davis L. Rev. Online 65, David A. Carrillo and Darien Shanske. Reprinted by permission. Overview On August 28, 2017 the California Supreme Court decided California Cannabis Coal. v. City of Upland, (Aug. 28, 2017, S234148) ___Cal.4th___ . Justice Cuéllar wrote the opinion, joined by the Chief Justice and Justices Werdegar, Chin, and Corrigan. Justice Kruger wrote separately to concur in part and dissent in part; Justice Liu joined that opinion. The basic facts of...

SCOCA Year in Review 2017: (Almost the) Brown Court

SCOCA Year in Review 2017: (Almost the) Brown Court

SCOCA Year in Review 2017: (Almost the) Brown Court With Justice Werdegar’s retirement (her last day was August 31), Governor Brown has a rare opportunity to appoint a fourth justice to the California Supreme Court. That will create a Brown-appointee majority on the seven-member court. To provide some perspective on what that could mean, in this article we analyze the court’s recent performance. Of course, no one but Governor Brown knows when a new justice will be appointed, and no one knows for sure what effect that person will have on the court. Rather than speculate about those unknowns, this...

Event announcement: Federalism Now conference

Event announcement: Federalism Now conference

FEDERALISM NOW UC Berkeley School of Law Friday 03 November 2017 9:00 to 5:30 Free admission, registration required. Click here to register! This full-day conference will bring together a diverse set of scholars, practitioners, and policymakers to explore what federalism means now. In this era of shifting state and federal policy positions, what constraints and opportunities does federalism present? Can people of different views agree on rules and principles to guide us going forward? The day is divided between a framing panel and two topical panels, one focusing on federalism and environmental law (climate change, specifically) and the other focusing...

The U.S. Supreme Court Has Misinterpreted The Federal Arbitration Act

The U.S. Supreme Court Has Misinterpreted The Federal Arbitration Act

For parties aggrieved by another’s refusal to arbitrate under a written agreement, the Federal Arbitration Act grants the ability to petition any court of the United States for an order compelling the parties to arbitrate the dispute. The FAA applies where (absent the arbitration agreement) federal courts would have jurisdiction over the subject matter. This article will overview the evolution of modern arbitration agreements, explore the flaws in the current federal law approach to arbitration, and suggest needed reforms. The FAA The first modern arbitration statute was enacted in New York in 1920. That statute made enforceable all arbitration agreements...

Event announcement: SCOCA year in review, featuring Justice Cuéllar

Event announcement: SCOCA year in review, featuring Justice Cuéllar

The SCCBA Appellate Law Committee presents The CA Supreme Court: A Conversation With Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar Download the invite: 8.29.17 The CA Supreme Court AUGUST 29, 2017 12:00 PM – 2:00 PM SCCBA SEMINAR & CONFERENCE CENTER 31 NORTH SECOND STREET, 4TH FLOOR SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA 95113 REGISTER ONLINE ALSO OFFERED AS LIVE WEBCAST Please join us for a conversation with Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and a Review of Significant Decisions During the 2016-2017 Term SPEAKERS: Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, one of the newest Justices on the California Supreme Court. Justice Cuéllar is the former Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford...

Opinion Analysis:  People v. Gutierrez (S224724)

Opinion Analysis: People v. Gutierrez (S224724)

The California Supreme Court’s opinion People v. Gutierrez, People v. Ramos, People v. Enriquez (S224724, hereinafter Gutierrez) issued on June 1, 2017,[1] has gained more than the usual media coverage for a criminal case.[2] Long-time SCOCA commentator Gerald Uelman was reported as calling the decision “dynamite” and “a profound change.”[3] In Gutierrez, the Court reversed a criminal conviction because it concluded that the prosecutor had excluded a prospective Hispanic juror because of her ethnicity, in violation of People v. Wheeler (1978) 22 Cal.3d 258 (Wheeler)[4] and Batson v. Kentucky (1986) 476 U.S. 79 (Batson).[5] In reviewing a Batson/Wheeler issue, appellate...

California’s Constitution is Not the Longest

California’s Constitution is Not the Longest

Californians sometimes complain about the length of their state constitution and the frequency of its amendments. For example, on June 18, 2014, California Assembly member Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) wrote in a Los Angeles Times editorial: “[o]f the more than 200 written constitutions in the world, California’s is the third-longest.”[1] That’s not true. It’s not merely untrue, it’s wrong for several reasons. First, there are far more than 200 written constitutions currently in force worldwide. According to the Constitute Project, there are 191 active national charters. But there are even more subnational constitutions. Besides the 50 state constitutions in the...