Author: California Constitution Center

The Chief Justice’s Order Suspending Jury Trials was Lawful and the Right Call

The Chief Justice’s Order Suspending Jury Trials was Lawful and the Right Call

Overview On March 23, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye issued a statewide order suspending all civil and criminal jury trials for 60 days to curb the spread of the COVID-19 virus. That order was necessary and proper. As head of the state Judicial Council, the Chief Justice holds the ultimate power to suspend court operations during a crisis. That authority flows from the judiciary’s inherent power of self-preservation, the constitutional provisions governing court administration, and statutes giving the Chief Justice the power to suspend trials when an epidemic strikes. Suspending all jury trials for 60 days is a difficult decision in response...

SCOCA year in review 2019

SCOCA year in review 2019

Overview The effect a majority of four justices appointed by Governor Jerry Brown might have on the California Supreme Court has been a major question in the past few years. After all, the last time four Brown appointees controlled the court it endured its most chaotic period in the last century. With the fourth Brown appointee (Justice Groban) having completed his first year on the court, we examined the court’s opinions from February 2015 to December 2019 for evidence that such times are upon us again. We found little support for a conclusion that another ultra-partisan-liberal Rose Bird era is...

Event announcement: MLI Symposium 2020

Event announcement: MLI Symposium 2020

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER March 6, 2020 9:00 a.m. – 4:15 p.m. The Bar Association of San Francisco 301 Battery Street, San Francisco, CA 94111 8:30-9:00 Registration 9:00-9:15 Welcome/Opening Remarks 9:15-10:15  The Impact of California Cannabis Coalition v. City of Upland on Tax Initiatives In 2017, the California Supreme Court issued a 5-2 decision in City of Upland expressing a decision on a narrow issue, that local measures introduced by voter initiative were not required to be presented in a general election, but could be presented in a special election instead. This panel will discuss this decision which sparked a...

Happy trails, Justice Chin

Happy trails, Justice Chin

Justice Ming W. Chin today announced he will retire from the Supreme Court of California on August 31, 2020 after 25 years on the state high court. He served California well and he will be missed. We wish him a happy retirement. The 2019 SCOCA year in review article currently in the works will feature a retrospective of Justice Chin’s contribution to the court, and some thoughts on what his departure might mean. At the very least it means all eyes in the profession will turn to Governor Gavin Newsom, who now has the first opportunity to appoint a justice in the...

Event announcement: Diversity Summit 2020

Event announcement: Diversity Summit 2020

WHEN: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 LOCATION: 301 Battery Street Click here to register! 1:00 — Keynote Speaker Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye 2:00 — Current state of the profession Executive Director Yolanda Jackson (BASF) and Donna Hershkowiz (State Bar of California) will analyze recent data on the profession’s diversity and pipeline programs. 3:00 — Evaluating pipeline programs Executive Director Chris Punongbayan (Changelawyers) and Director of Programs for Academic and Bar Success Sara Berman (AccessLex) will will analyze issues across the legal education continuum from admission to licensure, and make recommendations to increase diverse law school matriculants, graduates, and...

Municipal taxes are (almost) always municipal affairs

Municipal taxes are (almost) always municipal affairs

Overview The California Supreme Court has avoided bright-line rules when analyzing local ordinances under the Article XI, section 5 municipal affairs doctrine.[1] For example, the most recent state high court case on municipal affairs endorsed an interest-balancing approach to determine whether an activity is a matter of local or statewide concern.[2] But while the court disavows a categorical approach, one factor reliably predicts results in municipal affairs decisions: the court rules for the city in nearly every case that concerns local finance, especially taxes. Analysis For this article we reviewed every California Supreme Court municipal affairs case from 1896 to...

Event announcement: State v. Local Control at Hastings

Event announcement: State v. Local Control at Hastings

SCOCA Symposium 2020 State and Local Control: California’s Battle Over Housing Thursday January 30, 2020 Hastings Alumni Reception Center Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/scoca-symposium-2020-state-local-control-cas-battle-over-housing-tickets-87740432997 Join Hastings Law Journal for our annual California Supreme Court symposium at UC Hastings College of the Law. Our theme this year is California’s state and local control battle over housing, including bills like SB 35, (proposed) SB 50, and related litigation. The symposium will feature a practitioner panel of attorneys discussing the background and impact of these legislative efforts today, and an academic panel covering the different dimensions of growth and housing in the state. Topics of...

Municipal taxation is now interesting

Municipal taxation is now interesting

Overview Last week the California Supreme Court decided City and County of San Francisco v. UC Regents (S242835 docket and opinion), and in unanimously ruling for the city the court reshaped the local finance landscape and employed a clear new vision for resolving state–local conflicts. The case involved a mundane matter of whether a city can tax private users of parking lots owned by state universities. The universities argued that, as sovereign state entities, their real property operations could not be taxed by local governments.[1] The city argued that the core municipal taxation power was paramount here, and taxing private...

A Governor Probably Can Stop Capital Cases by Executive Order

A Governor Probably Can Stop Capital Cases by Executive Order

Overview The New York Times recently reported that Governor Gavin Newsom is “considering several new steps to dismantle the state’s capital punishment system” and “discussing with the attorney general’s office what role the state could play in blocking prosecutions of new death sentences.” The Times quoted experts who argued that a governor lacks authority to order an attorney general or local prosecutors to stop pursuing capital judgments, and that taking cases from local prosecutors would be “unprecedented.”   No California governor has ever tried to direct state prosecutors to this degree. But that does not mean a governor lacks such...

Liberate the capital docket by sending it to the Court of Appeal

Liberate the capital docket by sending it to the Court of Appeal

Overview California Supreme Court Justice Goodwin H. Liu recently wrote that “the promise of justice in our death penalty system is a promise that California has been unable to keep.”[1] He’s right. The state has struggled for decades to resolve the policy debate over capital punishment after the California Supreme Court banned it in 1972.[2] The electorate reinstated capital punishment by passing Proposition 17 in 1972;[3] the legislature re-enacted the death penalty statute in 1977; the electorate expanded its application with Proposition 7 in 1978; and the voters attempted to accelerate executions by enacting Proposition 66 in 2016.[4] After forty...