Author: California Constitution Center

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...

In Which We Profile and Analyze the Current SCOCA Justices

In Which We Profile and Analyze the Current SCOCA Justices

Overview Joshua Groban, Governor Jerry Brown’s final appointment to the California Supreme Court, was confirmed today by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Court watchers will be very curious to see how the new justice develops as an individual and how he interacts with the existing members. To establish a baseline for answering those questions, and to see if a larger dataset changed the results, we decided to expand on our recent analysis. Previously, we tabulated the court’s opinion and vote records during the thirteen months pro tem justices filled the vacant seat. We evaluated the impact those temporary justices had...

Governor Brown Nominates Joshua Groban to SCOCA Seat

Governor Brown Nominates Joshua Groban to SCOCA Seat

The Recorder reports that (after a head-fake to the Court of Appeal) in a surprise announcement Governor Brown has nominated the man in charge of searching for someone to fill Justice Werdegar’s empty seat to himself be that replacement: judicial appointments adviser Joshua Groban. Accordingly, our “days since Justice Werdegar’s retirement” countup clock has stopped at eighteen months.

Announcement: The Concurrence Matrix

Announcement: The Concurrence Matrix

Announcing a new data analytics tool for SCOCA watchers: a justices voting relationship matrix, available here: SCOCA Justices Concurrence Matrix Similar to the SCOTUSblog voting relationships chart on its statistics page (scroll to the bottom), this tool tracks the agreement rate of the justices relative to each other as a percentage value. The methodology is simple: any justice who concurs in the judgment counts as an “agree” in a given case even if that justice writes separately. SCOTUSblog does the same, counting agreement “in full, in part, or in judgment.” You will note that the “KW” values are grayed out....

Balancing Judicial Independence Against Public Confidence

Balancing Judicial Independence Against Public Confidence

Overview The voters delivered a mixed message regarding judicial independence in the June 2018 primary election. The phalanx of coordinated challengers to four sitting San Francisco Superior Court judges were soundly defeated, but Santa Clara Superior Court Judge Aaron Persky was recalled by a large margin. Those ballot box contests were examples of the conflicting public policy values of judicial independence and public confidence. Today we examine that conflict in the judicial discipline context. The competing policy concerns The value-set tradeoff in the judicial discipline context is between judicial independence and public confidence. “An impartial and independent judiciary is indispensable...