Author: California Constitution Center

The role of a state high court at the intersection of federalism and state sovereignty

The role of a state high court at the intersection of federalism and state sovereignty

The Alabama Supreme Court was in the news recently, after it ordered a halt to same-sex marriage licensing in that state. It became the first state high court in the nation to challenge a federal court order to permit same-sex marriage in its state. Such an action by a state high court raises issues of state sovereignty and federalism. This country has a federal system, in which states as sovereign political entities joined together in a system of collective government and ceded some sovereignty to a uniting central government, while retaining a great measure of self-governance. Federalism describes the principles...

SCOCA Chambers Staff:  Annual Clerks or Staff Attorneys – or Both?

SCOCA Chambers Staff: Annual Clerks or Staff Attorneys – or Both?

We revisit a conversation of ancient vintage about the relative merits of judicial staff attorneys versus annual law clerks in the chambers of California Supreme Court justices. The staff attorneys are long-term professionals, while the annual law clerks are typically recent law school graduates who serve just a year or so (thus the name). This is distinct from the related debate about the role these attorneys play in the court’s decisionmaking process. That discussion is for another day – today we only compare staff attorneys and annual clerks. This conversation has been going on for many years – most recently...

27 Jan 2015: SCOCA this week and next.

27 Jan 2015: SCOCA this week and next.

The week of 26 Jan 2015: The court has no arguments scheduled this week. The upcoming argument session is next week, on Wed 04 Feb 2015 in Sacramento. Next week’s argument calendar: The court’s argument calendar for Wed 04 Feb 2015 in Sacramento. The following cases are placed upon the calendar of the Supreme Court for oral argument at its courtroom in the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building, 914 Capitol Mall, Sacramento, California, on February 4, 2015. WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 4, 2015 9:00 A.M. (1) S208611 California Charter Schools Association v. Los Angeles Unified School District et al. (2) S211596...

12 Jan 2015:  SCOCA this year, this month, this week.

12 Jan 2015: SCOCA this year, this month, this week.

In 2015: We can expect some interesting new trends to develop at the court this year. As of this month, two new members have taken seats on the SCOCA bench:  Justice Cuéllar, replacing Justice Kennard, and Justice Kruger, replacing Justice Baxter. Along with Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justice Liu, who both joined the court in 2011 (replacing Chief Justice George and Justice Moreno, respectively), that makes four new or relatively-new members of the seven-member bench – a majority of the court has served less than four years. At the time he joined the court in August 2011, Justice Liu was...