Author: California Constitution Center

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...

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...

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...

Federalism Is Your Friend

Federalism Is Your Friend

Federalism allows state courts to disagree with their federal counterparts. Some say that this principle of state sovereignty is now more important than ever. We say that, as a design feature intended to protect individual liberty, federalism is always important. Today we consider this question: “What can a state high court do when it disagrees with federal precedent?” The answer is always the same: rely on the state constitution as may be appropriate. Overview The federalist design of this country’s system for integrating fifty-one governments is based on the theory that dual sovereignty will better protect individual liberty by empowering...

CalExit: Good Luck With That

CalExit: Good Luck With That

This week some notice has come to a fringe theory that California could and should secede from the United States. We reject both propositions. States Have No Power to Secede The first problem California secessionists face is the absence of any authority for secession. There is no legal basis for a state to secede from the Union. Article 4, section 3 of the U.S. constitution has a procedure for adding new states or subdividing existing states—both require Congress to consent.[1] But there is no procedure, at all, in the federal constitution for a state to secede. And Article 3, section...

What Does California’s Experience with Recall of Judges Teach Us?

What Does California’s Experience with Recall of Judges Teach Us?

Recently there has been much public discussion about whether Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky should be recalled. We thought it would be useful to provide an overview of the facts about judicial recalls in California, their history, and the issues involved. This article takes no position on the merits question of whether Judge Persky should be recalled. The Issues Involved In general, the design of California’s judiciary is influenced by some competing policy alternatives, known as “value sets.” In a value set, favoring one alternative over another reflects a decision to advance a particular policy goal, and one...

Event announcement: SCOCA Historical Society book launch

Event announcement: SCOCA Historical Society book launch

The California Supreme Court Historical Society is hosting an event to celebrate the publication of Constitutional Governance and Judicial Power: The History of the California Supreme Court. The event is Tuesday 15 November, 5:00 to 7:30 p.m. in the Milton Marks Auditorium at 455 Golden Gate Avenue in San Francisco. 5:00 – 6:00 panel discussion with Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and former Chief Justice George 6:00 – 7:30 reception with drinks and snacks Click here to register!

SCOCA Conference 2017: Save The Date

SCOCA Conference 2017: Save The Date

Mark your calendar! On Friday 13 Jan 2017 the California Constitution Center will present its conference on the California Supreme Court, in partnership with the center’s friends at Hastings Law Journal, the Bar Association of San Francisco, and the Institute of Governmental Studies. This year the conference is at Hastings. Registration opens in October.

Postcard From The Ninth Circuit: “Please Help”

Postcard From The Ninth Circuit: “Please Help”

This week an LA Times article described a recurring problem in the relationship between SCOCA and the Ninth Circuit. The issue concerns the brevity of SCOCA orders denying state habeas petitions. When those cases reach the Ninth Circuit, that court must determine the basis for the SCOCA ruling: specifically, whether the petition was denied as untimely. According to the article, SCOCA decides most such petitions “with one-paragraph summary rulings that frustrate federal judges who later are asked to review them.” The issue stems from the SCOTUS decision in Harrington v. Richter (2011) 562 U.S. 86, holding that the prohibition in...