Author: California Constitution Center

Save the date: SCOCA conference Fri 08 Nov 2024

Save the date: SCOCA conference Fri 08 Nov 2024

The conference on the California Supreme Court, presented by Berkeley Law’s California Constitution Center and its partners, will be held on Friday November 08, 2024. This all-day event will feature conversations with current and former justices of the California Supreme Court and the Court of Appeal, and scholars of state courts and constitutions. MCLE credit approval will be requested. Ticketing and other details will be released soon.

No, you can’t abolish a constitutional power by statutory initiative

No, you can’t abolish a constitutional power by statutory initiative

Overview During the oral argument in Castellanos v. State of California (S279622), the justices several times posed this question to counsel: could the voters by initiative abolish workers’ compensation? We would have answered that question: “Certainly not, your honor, because the electorate cannot defeat or materially impair the constitutional power of a branch with a statutory initiative.” That simple answer flows, as we explain below, from our view that California’s core powers analysis should apply to the voters when they act against another branch. Analysis Review: the core powers analysis should apply to the electorate To briefly recap our previous...

Amicus letter in OSPD v. Bonta S284496

Amicus letter in OSPD v. Bonta S284496

On April 9, 2024 the State Public Defender filed a petition for a writ of mandate in the California Supreme Court’s original jurisdiction, challenging the state’s capital punishment system with an equal protection argument. The matter is captioned Office of the State Public Defender v. Bonta (S284496). For a complete description of the petition and its context, we recommend this At the Lectern article by David Ettinger. Two affiliates of Berkeley Law’s California Constitution Center filed an amicus curiae letter brief in this matter (filing as the California Constitution Scholars), arguing that rather than granting an alternative writ and confronting...

The free exercise right to life

The free exercise right to life

New scholarship from the California Constitution Center at Berkeley Law: David A. Carrillo, Allison G. Macbeth & Daniel Bogard, The Free Exercise Right to Life (2024) 104 B.U. Law Review Online 19. This publication is part of the Advancing Pregnant Persons’ Right To Life Symposium presented by the Boston University School of Law Program on Reproductive Justice, Northeastern Law Center for Health Policy and Law, and Center for Reproductive Rights, hosted by Boston University Law Review Online. On February 8, 2024 scholars of law, medicine, and religion from across the world came together at Boston University School of Law to...

Legislature v. Weber argument preview

Legislature v. Weber argument preview

In a radio interview with LAist today (click here for audio) Brandon V. Stracener, senior research fellow with the California Constitution Center, reviews the issues likely in play in the argument on Legislature v. Weber in the California Supreme Court. The case will be argued on Wednesday, May 8, 2024, at 9:00 am, in San Francisco.

The core powers analysis should apply to the electorate

The core powers analysis should apply to the electorate

Overview By granting review in Legislature v. Weber (S281977) the California Supreme Court may have committed itself to resolving one of the most difficult questions in California constitutional law: distinguishing between an impermissible constitutional revision and a permitted constitutional amendment. The California Constitution Center recently argued that this question is best avoided until after the election. That’s partly because engaging in preelection review likely requires the court to confront the constitutional conundrum presented by an initiative amendment that attacks a core branch power. If resolving that question is truly necessary, we argue here that the best approach is to apply...

Event announcement

Event announcement

The California Supreme Court Historical Society presents: Looking Back: A Review of Significant Decisions of The California Supreme Court in 2023 Thursday, February 15, 2024 – Webinar12:00 PM to 1:00 PM Click here to register! Introduction by California Supreme Court Justice Joshua GrobanPresentation by David A. Carrillo, Berkeley Law There is no charge for this program. 1 hour MCLE Credit is available to California Supreme Court Historical Society members at no charge. Non-members may purchase MCLE credit for $25.00 This program is co-sponsored by: Alameda County Bar AssociationThe Bar Association of San FranciscoCalifornia Constitution Center at Berkeley LawCalifornia Lawyers AssociationCitrin...

SCOCA year in review 2023

SCOCA year in review 2023

Overview Our word to describe the California Supreme Court in 2023 is coalescence. It makes no difference how long a justice has served, who appointed the justice, what political party they vote for, or what kind of toast they like — the metrics we track for this court all show collapsing trends with few divergences. The three-way split between the appointing governor blocs remains: three Browns (Liu, Kruger, Groban), three Newsoms (Guerrero, Jenkins, Evans), and one Schwarzenegger (Corrigan). But those looking for polarized voting blocs or even a lone dissenter will be disappointed: this court most often operates as a...

Appellate rules of thumb

Appellate rules of thumb

Overview Experienced California appellate practitioners sometimes rely on two rules of thumb. One posits that when the California Supreme Court grants a petition for review, the court reverses about 60% of the time and affirms the other 40% of reviewed cases; call this the “60–40 rule.” The other bit of conventional wisdom (call it the “rule of thirds”) holds that the court’s docket is divided roughly into thirds: about one-third each of automatic capital appeals, general criminal, and general civil cases. In this article we evaluate these hypotheses. We found that the rule of thirds is inaccurate: at least 40%...

Why we’re not worried about SCOCA productivity

Why we’re not worried about SCOCA productivity

Overview In this conclusion to our series on the California Supreme Court’s recent performance we argue that the valid concerns some have raised about the court’s opinion output do not constitute a crisis. Annual decision tallies are just one performance metric that decreases in significance when considered with other factors. Comparing the decades 2000–10 with 2010–21, in the later period there were fewer petitions for review, more vacancies, more new justices without prior judicial service, a new grant-and-hold policy, and changes in individual justice performance. Considered together those distinctions can explain both the higher annual figures in the past and...