SCOCAblog by the California Constitution Center and the Hastings Law Journal

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...

Argument Preview: California Cannabis Coalition et al. v. City of Upland

Argument Preview: California Cannabis Coalition et al. v. City of Upland

The California constitution subjects tax increases proposed by a local government to vote at a general election, but does this requirement also apply to an initiative measure proposed by the people themselves? The particular provision of the California constitution at issue, Article XIIIC, section 2(b), added by Proposition 218 in 1996, does not indicate whether or not it also applies to initiative measures. The Court of Appeal decision[1] under review in this case found that this provision did not govern initiative measures. Therefore, under this reasoning, initiative measures do not need to be submitted to a vote at a general...

Lowering the Voting Age in California: Possible, But Not Without Problems

Lowering the Voting Age in California: Possible, But Not Without Problems

A proposed legislatively-referred amendment to the California constitution (Assembly Constitutional Amendment 10) would lower the voting age from 18 to 17 in California, if it passes the state legislature and is adopted by the electorate. This article considers whether a state has the power to set voting age requirements for its electors, and the effect of federal law. It concludes that California has legal authority to make this change, but there are potential conflicts with federal election law. Steps to Reform Several things need to happen for this proposal to take effect. First, both houses of the state legislature must...

Happy Trails, Justice Werdegar

Happy Trails, Justice Werdegar

Yesterday Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar announced her intent to retire from the California Supreme Court, effective August 31, 2017. We wish her a happy retirement.   Bob Egelko at the San Francisco Chronicle wrote a good overview of Justice Werdegar’s major contributions to the law. So instead of focusing on her substantive legal work, we looked at the effect this retirement will have in the broader context of gubernatorial appointments.   Since 1934, the only way to become a SCOCA justice is to be appointed by a governor and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments; after appointment, justices stand...