SCOCAblog by the California Constitution Center and the Hastings Law Journal

Hail and farewell, Madam Chief Justice

California’s Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will retire, she announced this morning in a media conference. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye will not file for retention election, and will vacate her position when her term ends in January 2023, having served a full 12-year term as California’s highest judicial officer. Appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, she assumed office on January 3, 2011. She will be 63 when she leaves office, having served 32 years on the bench since Governor George Deukmejian first appointed her in 1990. Like her colleagues justices Carol Corrigan and Martin Jenkins, Cantil-Sakauye served at every level of California court...

Does California still have a meaningful separation of powers doctrine?

Does California still have a meaningful separation of powers doctrine?

Overview In this article I address what I view as a significant breakdown in California’s constitutional order. I begin with an overview of separation of powers doctrine to explain the importance of the non-delegation doctrine — which prohibits the state legislature from giving away its lawmaking powers. I then explain California’s three tests for distinguishing between legitimate and illegitimate delegations of authority. And in all of this, I aim to address a controversy: that Governor Newsom’s exercise of “all police powers of the state” in formulating rules restricting individual liberties and shuttering businesses during 2020–21 violated separation of powers and...

The deadline for SCOCA justices to file for retention

The deadline for SCOCA justices to file for retention

Overview California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye assumed office on August 25, 2010, and secured retention in the November 2010 general election. Her current term ends on January 1, 2023. When asked at the recent SCOCA Conference 2022 whether she intended to seek another term, the Chief Justice said “I’m still thinking about it.” We confirmed how long the Chief Justice has to consider that question: the deadline for a SCOCA justice to file for retention in the November 2022 election is August 15, 2022. Analysis California appellate justices serve 12-year terms.[1] Before their terms expire on the Monday after the...

Fix the fatal flaw in SCA 10

Overview The reproductive choice rights the United States Supreme Court recognized almost fifty years ago rely on two unwritten fundamental rights: to privacy, and liberty interests in retaining control of one’s body. With the U.S. Supreme Court poised to abrogate those rights in Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, Californians will retain their state constitutional rights and statutory protections for reproductive liberty. Yet those California constitutional rights rely on a similar foundation — judicial interpretations of California’s textual constitutional privacy right. That leaves the state constitutional protection for reproductive liberty vulnerable to the same judicial reinterpretation that federal abortion doctrine...

SCOCA Conference 2022 complete agenda

SCOCA Conference 2022 complete agenda

Friday June 10, 20229:00am to 4:15pmBroadcast live from the California Supreme Court conference center. Click here to register! Program outline 9:00 – 9:55 Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye keynote. A discussion on the pandemic’s effects on the judicial branch, the Judicial Council’s efforts to continue providing access to justice, and the successes and lessons of remote appearances that should continue to improve courthouse availability. We will discuss how the pandemic’s lessons about conducting government remotely can improve civic engagement and access to the governing process. 10:00 – 10:55 David Ettinger and David A. Carrillo will review the court’s major decisions in...

A hypothetical California constitutional right to reproductive liberty

A hypothetical California constitutional right to reproductive liberty

Overview The document below is the hypothetical text of a possible California constitutional amendment and potential proponent’s argument, as an academic example of the sort of action that California’s legislature could, in theory, take if it wished. California Constitution Center fellows developed this after a conversation with Lieutenant Governor Eleni Kounalakis as an academic thought problem in the hypothetical case of a U.S. Supreme Court decision that removed federal constitutional protection for abortion. No one knows for sure if or when that might happen, so this is only one possible academic approach to what is at present a purely hypothetical...

Event announcement: SCOCA Conference 2022

Event announcement: SCOCA Conference 2022

Friday June 10, 20229:00am to 4:00pmBroadcast live from the California Supreme Court conference center. Click here to register! The California Constitution Center presents its conference on the California Supreme Court, in partnership with: Institute of Governmental Studies, Citrin Center, Bar Association of San Francisco, Alameda County Bar Association, California Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Hastings Law Journal, Santa Clara Law Review, UC Davis Law Review, San Diego Law Review, and California Law Review. This free event is eligible for six hours of MCLE credit.

California knows how to avoid partisan gerrymandering

California knows how to avoid partisan gerrymandering

Overview The redistricting season happens once every ten years, and it is always characterized by two things: fierce partisan struggles for control of the maps that will determine political power in the next decade, and anguished complaints about how politicized the process is. The current redistricting cycle is no different, featuring the usual allegations of partisan gerrymandering and consequent legal challenges to proposed district maps across the country. This boring-but-important topic receives less news coverage than it merits, and consequently it is rarely a target for major reforms. For example, a recent Pew poll found that most Americans are unaware...

Exit taxes in California? Not so fast.

Exit taxes in California? Not so fast.

Overview In the past two years members of California’s Assembly twice tried to advance tax bills (AB 2088 and AB 310) that were designed to capture revenue from wealthy residents who fled the state to avoid the other income tax increases in those bills.[1] Both would have imposed a tax (levied annually for 10 years) on a California resident who leaves the state. This article argues that such an exit tax has grave legal defects that should prevent a state from imposing a wealth-based exit tax on its former residents. Analysis The two bills employed distinct approaches to capturing revenue...

California Constitution Center turns 10

California Constitution Center turns 10

Dear California: What a decade it’s been since John Yoo, Danny Chou, and David Carrillo forged the California Constitution Center in April 2012: no one foresaw a pandemic, Trump, a gubernatorial recall, and a European land war. Despite it all California still stands, and the center abides. In the center’s first decade we worked hard to build a body of knowledge, contribute to the law, and participate in policy debates. Our res gestae: A casebook 188 blog articles 64 moots 50 opinion editorials 47 fellows 25 classes 15 journal articles 15 conferences and events Five amicus briefs We did work...