Supreme Court of California
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|Supreme Court of California|
|Location||San Francisco (Headquarters)|
|Composition method||Gubernatorial nomination and confirmation by Chief Justice, Attorney General and a senior presiding judge of the Court of Appeal|
|Authorized by||California Constitution|
|Appeals to||Supreme Court of the United States|
|Judge term length||12 years; renewable|
|Number of positions||7|
|Since||January 3, 2011|
|Lead position ends||January 2, 2023|
The Supreme Court of California is the highest and final court in the courts of the U.S. state of California. It resides primarily in San Francisco at the Earl Warren Building, but it regularly holds sessions in Los Angeles and Sacramento. Its decisions are binding on all other California state courts. Since 1850, the court has issued many influential decisions in a variety of areas including torts, property, civil and constitutional rights, and criminal law.
Under the original 1849 California Constitution, the Court started with a chief justice and two associate justices. The Court was expanded to five justices in 1862. Under the current 1879 constitution, the Court expanded to six associate justices and one chief justice, for the current total of seven. The justices are appointed by the Governor of California and are subject to retention elections.
According to the California Constitution, to be considered for appointment, as with any California judge, a person must be an attorney admitted to practice in California or have served as a judge of a California court for 10 years immediately preceding the appointment.
To fill a vacant position, the Governor must first submit a candidate's name to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation of the State Bar of California, which prepares and returns a thorough, confidential evaluation of the candidate. Next, the Governor officially nominates the candidate, who must then be evaluated by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of the Chief Justice of California, the Attorney General of California, and a senior presiding justice of the California Courts of Appeal. The Commission holds a public hearing and if satisfied with the nominee's qualifications, confirms the nomination. The nominee can then immediately fill an existing vacancy, or replace a departing justice at the beginning of the next judicial term.
If a nominee is confirmed to fill a vacancy that arose partway through a judicial term, the justice must stand for retention during the next gubernatorial election. Voters then determine whether to retain the justice for the remainder of the judicial term. At the term's conclusion, justices must again undergo a statewide retention election for a full 12-year term. If a majority votes "no," the seat becomes vacant and may be filled by the Governor.
The electorate has occasionally exercised the power not to retain justices. Chief Justice Rose Bird and Associate Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin were staunchly opposed to capital punishment and were subsequently removed in the 1986 general election. Newly reelected Governor George Deukmejian was then able to elevate Associate Justice Malcolm M. Lucas to Chief Justice and appoint three new associate justices (one to replace Lucas in his old post and two to replace Reynoso and Grodin).
|Courts of record|
Between 1879 and 1966, the court was divided into two three-justice panels, Department One and Department Two. The chief justice divided cases evenly between the panels and also decided which cases would be heard en banc by the Court sitting as a whole.
After a constitutional amendment in 1966, the Court currently sits "in bank" (en banc) (all seven together) when hearing all appeals. When there is an open seat on the court, or if a justice recuses himself or herself on a given case, justices from the California Courts of Appeal are assigned by the chief justice to join the court for individual cases on a rotational basis.
The procedure for when all justices recuse themselves from a case has varied over time. For a 1992 case, the chief justice requested the presiding justice of a Court of Appeal district (different from the one where the case originated) to select six other Court of Appeal justices from his district, and they formed an acting Supreme Court for the purpose of deciding that one case. However, in a later case where all members of the Court recused themselves when Governor Schwarzenegger sought a writ of mandate (Schwarzenegger v. Court of Appeal (Epstein)), seven justices of the Courts of Appeal were selected based on the regular rotational basis, not from the same district, with the most senior one serving as the acting chief justice, and that acting supreme court eventually denied the writ petition. In a yet more recent case (Mallano v. Chiang) where all members of the Court recused themselves on a petition for review by retired Court of Appeal justices on a matter involving those justices' salaries (that apparently involved matters up to and including the 2016–2017 fiscal year), the Court ordered that six superior court judges be selected from the pool that took office after July 1, 2017 to serve as the substitute justices for the six sitting justices, with the senior judge among that group serving as the acting Chief Justice; that acting Supreme Court eventually denied the petition for review.
|Position||Name||Born||Appt. by||Took office / Length of service||Term expires||Law school||Prior positions|
|October 19, 1959
10 years, 8 months
|UC Davis||California Court of Appeal (Sacramento, 2005–2011); Sacramento County Superior Court (1997–2005); Sacramento Municipal Court (1990–1997); Deputy Legislative Secretary (1989–1990); Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary (1988–1989); Sacramento County Deputy District Attorney (1984–1988).|
15 years, 8 months
|UC Hastings||California Court of Appeal (San Francisco, 1994–2006); Alameda County Superior Court (1990–1994).|
|Yale||Associate Dean of UC Berkeley School of Law (2008–2011); Professor of Law, UC Berkeley School of Law (2003–2011).|
6 years, 8 months
|Yale||Stanley Morrison Professor, Stanford Law School (2001–2014); Director (and other positions), Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies at Stanford University (2004–2015); Co-Chair, Equity and Excellence Commission, United States Department of Education (2011-2013); Special Assistant to the President, Justice and Regulatory Policy, White House Domestic Policy Council (2009–2010); Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary, United States Department of the Treasury (1997-1999)|
6 years, 8 months
|Yale||Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Legal Counsel, United States Department of Justice (2013–2014); Assistant to the Solicitor General and Acting Principal Deputy Solicitor General, Office of the Solicitor General, United States Department of Justice (2007–2013); Private practice (2004–2006).|
2 years, 8 months
|Harvard||law clerk, S.D.N.Y (1998–1999); private practice (2005–2010); counsel Brown campaign (2010); general counsel to California Governor (2010–2018)|
|USF||Law clerk, Alameda County District Attorney's Office (1980–1981); Deputy district attorney, Alameda County (1981–1983); Trial attorney, United States Department of Justice Civil Rights Division (1983–1985); Judge, Alameda County Municipal Court (1989–1992); Civil litigator, Pacific Bell Legal Department (1985–1989); Judge, Oakland-Piedmont-Emeryville Municipal Court (1989–1992); Judge, Alameda County Superior Court (1992–1997); Judge, United States District Court for the Northern District of California (1997–2008); Judge, California Court of Appeal for the First District (2008–2019)|
Five current justices were appointed by Democrats (Liu, Cuéllar, Kruger, Groban, Jenkins) and two by Republicans (Cantil-Sakauye and Corrigan). The justices generally do not publicly discuss their political views or affiliations; however, in December 2018, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye announced that she was leaving the Republican Party.
One justice earned an undergraduate degree from a University of California school (Cantil-Sakauye at Davis), four from private universities in California (Corrigan at Holy Names, Liu and Groban at Stanford, and Jenkins at Santa Clara), and two from an out-of-state private university (Cuéllar and Kruger at Harvard). Two justices earned their law degrees from a University of California law school (Cantil-Sakauye at Davis and Corrigan at Hastings), one from a private California university (Jenkins at the University of San Francisco), and four from law schools at out-of-state private universities (Liu, Cuéllar, and Kruger at Yale and Groban at Harvard).
The most recent Justice to leave the court was Justice Ming Chin who retired from the court on August 31, 2020. Appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson, Chin was the first Asian American man, the first Chinese American person, and second Asian American person to serve on the court. The most recent addition to the court is Associate Justice Martin Jenkins, who was sworn in on December 4, 2020, to replace Chin on the court. Appointed by Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom, Jenkins is the first openly gay justice, the third African American man, and the fifth African American person to serve on the court.
There is one Filipino-American justice (Cantil-Sakauye), one Hispanic (Cuéllar), two African-American (Kruger, Jenkins), one East Asian-American justice (Liu), and two non-Hispanic white justices (Corrigan, Groban).
The court had a female majority from 2011–2017. The majority was achieved in 2011 after Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to the court, joining Justice Joyce L. Kennard (an appointee of Republican Governor George Deukmejian), Justice Kathryn Werdegar (appointed by Republican Governor Pete Wilson), and Justice Carol A. Corrigan (another Schwarzenegger appointee). When Kennard retired in 2014, Democratic Governor Jerry Brown preserved the female majority by appointing Leondra Kruger to succeed her. The female majority ended when Werdegar retired in 2017, and Brown appointed Joshua Groban to succeed her.
The Constitution of California gives the Court mandatory and exclusive appellate jurisdiction in all cases imposing capital punishment in California, although the Court has sponsored a state constitutional amendment to allow it to assign death penalty appeals to the California Courts of Appeal. The Court has discretionary appellate jurisdiction over all cases reviewed by the Courts of Appeal; the latter were created by a 1904 constitutional amendment to relieve the Supreme Court of most of its workload so the Court could then focus on dealing with non-frivolous appeals that involved important issues of law.
According to research by Justice Goodwin Liu, each year the Court has averaged 5,200 petitions for writs of certiorari and 3,400 petitions for habeas corpus, plus 40 additional petitions from inmates already on death row. In an average year the Court will decide to hear 83 cases and will be required to hear appeals from 20 new inmates joining death row. Each week, the Court votes on 150 to 300 petitions, paying special attention to a staff-recommended "A list" as well as to certified questions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
The Court is open for business year-round (as opposed to operating only during scheduled "terms" as is commonplace in jurisdictions that observe the legal year). The Court hears oral argument at least one week per month, 10 months each year (except July and August). Since 1878, it has regularly heard oral argument each year at San Francisco (four months), Los Angeles (four months), and Sacramento (two months).
According to Justice Liu, when a case is granted review, the Chief Justice assigns the case to a justice, who, after the parties finish briefing, then prepares a draft opinion. Each justice writes a preliminary response to the draft opinion, and if the assigned justice is in the minority, she may ask the Chief Justice to reassign the case to someone in the majority. The Court then hears oral arguments and, immediately afterwards, meet alone to vote. The California Constitution requires suspension of the justices' salaries if the Court fails to then file a decision within 90 days. The Court issues unanimous opinions in 77% of cases, compared to 43% by the Supreme Court of the United States.
Throughout the year (including July and August), the justices have a conference every Wednesday the Court is not hearing oral argument, with the exception of the last week, respectively, of November and December (Thanksgiving and New Year's). New opinions are published online on Monday and Thursday mornings at 10 a.m. Paper copies also become available through the clerk's office at that time.
The Court is one of the few U.S. courts apart from the U.S. Supreme Court that enjoys the privilege of having its opinions routinely published in three hardcover reporters. The Court's Reporter of Decisions contracts with a private publisher (currently LexisNexis) to publish the official reporter, California Reports, now in its fifth series; note that the series number changes whenever the publisher changes, although the most recent changeover to the fifth series did not involve a change in reporter. West publishes California decisions in both the California Reporter (in its second series) and the Pacific Reporter (in its third series). (The New York Court of Appeals opinions are similarly published in three reporters.)
Each justice has five assigned chambers attorneys. Since the late 1980s, the Court has turned away from the traditional use of law clerks, and has switched to permanent staff attorneys. Justices Goodwin Liu, Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, and Leondra Kruger, however, have returned to the traditional use of recent law school graduates as one-year clerks for some of their staff positions. The Court has about 85 staff attorneys, some of whom are attached to particular justices; the rest are shared as a central staff. The advantage to this system is that the reduced turnover of staff attorneys (versus the traditional system of rotating through new law clerks every year) has improved the efficiency of the court in dealing with complex cases, particularly death penalty cases.
During its first half-century of operation, the Court struggled to keep up with its soaring caseload and very frequently fell behind, until the California Courts of Appeal were created in 1904. This resulted in provisions in the 1879 Constitution forcing the Court to decide all cases in writing with reasons given (to get rid of minor cases, it had often given summary dispositions with no reasons given) and requiring California judges to certify in writing every month that no matter submitted for consideration had been outstanding for more than 90 days, or else they would not be paid. To comply with the latter provision, the Court does not schedule oral argument until the justices have already studied the briefs, formulated their respective positions, and circulated draft opinions. Then, after the matter is formally "argued and submitted", the justices can polish and release their opinions well before reaching the 90-day deadline.[clarification needed] This differs sharply from the practice in all other federal and state appellate courts, where judges can schedule oral argument not long after written briefing is finished, but then may take months (or even a year) after oral argument to release opinions.
Because the court was extremely overloaded with cases prior to 1904, its decisions in several hundred minor cases that should have been published were not published. A small group of lawyers eventually undertook the tedious task of plowing through the state archives to recover and compile those opinions, which were published in a separate seven-volume reporter called California Unreported Cases starting in 1913. Despite its name, those cases are citable as precedent, since they would have been published but for the court's disorganized condition at the time they were issued.
The Court supervises the lower courts (including the trial-level California superior courts) through the Judicial Council of California and the California Commission on Judicial Performance, and also supervises California's legal profession through the State Bar of California. All lawyer admissions are done through recommendations of the State Bar, which then must be ratified by the Supreme Court, and attorney discipline is delegated to the State Bar Court of California (although suspensions longer than three years must be independently decided upon by the Court). California's bar is the largest in the U.S. with 210,000 members, of whom 160,000 are practicing.
As the Wall Street Journal said in 1972:
The state's high court over the past 20 years has won a reputation as perhaps the most innovative of the state judiciaries, setting precedents in areas of criminal justice, civil liberties, racial integration, and consumer protection that heavily influence other states and the federal bench.
Statistical analyses conducted by LexisNexis personnel at the Court's request indicate that the decisions of the Supreme Court of California are by far the most followed of any state supreme court in the United States. Between 1940 and 2005, 1,260 decisions of the Court were expressly followed by out-of-state courts (meaning that those courts expressly found the Court's reasoning persuasive and applied it to the cases before them).
Many important legal concepts have been pioneered or developed by the Court, including strict liability for defective products, fair procedure, negligent infliction of emotional distress, palimony, insurance bad faith, wrongful life, and market-share liability.
The major film studios in and around Hollywood and the high-tech firms of Silicon Valley both fall under the Court's jurisdiction. Thus, the Court has decided a number of cases by, between, and against such companies, as well as several cases involving Hollywood celebrities and high-tech executives.
The California Supreme Court and all lower California state courts use a different writing style and citation system from the federal courts and many other state courts. California citations have the year between the names of the parties and the reference to the case reporter, as opposed to the national standard (the Bluebook) of putting the year at the end. For example, the famous case Marvin v. Marvin, which established the standard for non-marital partners' ability to sue for their contributions to the partnership, is rendered Marvin v. Marvin (1976) 18 Cal.3d 660 [134 Cal.Rptr. 815, 557 P.2d 106] in California style, while it would be Marvin v. Marvin, 18 Cal. 3d 660, 557 P.2d 106, 134 Cal. Rptr. 815 (1976), in Bluebook style. The California citation style, however, has always been the norm of common law jurisdictions outside the United States, including England, Canada and Australia.
While the U.S. Supreme Court justices indicate the author of an opinion and who has "joined" the opinion at the start of the opinion, California justices always sign a majority opinion at the end, followed by "WE CONCUR," and then the names of the joining justices. California judges are traditionally not supposed to use certain ungrammatical terms in their opinions, which has led to embarrassing fights between judges and the editor of the state's official reporters. California has traditionally avoided the use of certain French and Latin phrases like en banc, certiorari, and mandamus, so California judges and attorneys use "in bank," "review," and "mandate" instead (though "in bank" has become quite rare after 1974).
Finally, the Court has the power to "depublish" opinions by the Courts of Appeal (as opposed to the federal practice of not publishing certain "unpublished" opinions at all in the federal case reporters). This means that even though the opinion has already been published in the official state reporters, it will be binding only upon the parties. Stare decisis does not apply, and any new rules articulated will not be applied in future cases. Similarly, the California Supreme Court has the power to "publish" opinions by the California Courts of Appeal which were initially not published.
The California Supreme Court has handed down important and influential decisions since 1850. Some of the most significant of these important and influential Court decisions are listed below in date ascending order. Most of the Court decisions that follow were landmark decisions that were among the first such decisions in the United States or the world.
- People v. Hall (1854), a case which held that Chinese persons may not testify against a white man, even if the white man is accused of murdering a Chinese person; effectively overturned by state law in 1873. The Hall case has been described as “containing some of the most offensive racial rhetoric to be found in the annals of California appellate jurisprudence” and “the worst statutory interpretation case in history.”
- Houston v. Williams (1859), a leading case on the separation of powers under the California Constitution.
- Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling Co. (1944), then-Associate Justice Roger Traynor suggested in a now-famous concurring opinion that the Court should dispose of legal fictions like warranties and impose strict liability for defective products as a matter of public policy.
- Perez v. Sharp (1948), the Court overturned the statutory ban on interracial marriage as unconstitutional. Perez directly influenced the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision on this issue, Loving v. Virginia (1967).
- Summers v. Tice (1948), the Court shifted the burden to the defense to disprove causation when it was clear that one of two defendants must have caused the plaintiff's injury, but it was not clear which one.
- Dillon v. Legg (1968), the Court radically expanded the tort of negligent infliction of emotional distress (NIED) beyond its traditional form, which historically had been limited to plaintiffs standing in the same "zone of danger" as a relative who was killed.
- Pacific Gas & E. Co. v. G.W. Drayage & Rigging Co., Inc. (1968),  in which the Court held that parol evidence could be conditionally received by a trial court to determine if a contract was ambiguous when not ambiguous on its face. This decision has not been followed by the courts of any other state.
- Rowland v. Christian (1968), the Court abolished the old distinctions between different types of persons entering land and imposed a general duty of care in the context of the tort of negligence.
- People v. Belous (1969), finding the state’s criminal statute prohibiting abortions to be unconstitutionally vague, in a 4-3 decision.
- People v. Anderson (1972), the Court relied upon the state constitutional clause prohibiting "cruel or unusual punishment" (note the difference from the federal Constitution's "cruel and unusual punishment" clause) to abolish capital punishment in California. The state electorate promptly overruled Anderson that same year with a popular initiative, Proposition 17, that kept the "cruel or unusual" clause but declared the death penalty to be neither cruel nor unusual.
- Pitchess v. Superior Court (1974), the Court held that criminal defendants have a right to access the arresting officer's personnel file when the defendant alleges in an affidavit that the officer used excessive force or lied about the circumstances of the arrest.
- Li v. Yellow Cab Co. (1975), the Court embraced comparative negligence as part of California tort law and rejected strict contributory negligence.
- Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California (1976), the Court held that mental health professionals have a duty to protect individuals who are being threatened with bodily harm by a patient. The original 1974 decision mandated warning the threatened individual, but a 1976 rehearing resulted in a decision calling for a "duty to protect" the intended victim, which did not necessarily require that a potential victim be informed of the threat.
- Marvin v. Marvin (1976), the Court ruled in favor of the enforceability of non-marital relationship contracts, express or implied, to the extent that they are not founded purely upon meretricious sexual services. In other words, even though California does not recognize common law marriage, persons who cohabit for long periods of time and commingle their assets are allowed to plead and prove marriage-like contracts for support and division of property.
- Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center (1979), the Court found that the broad right to freedom of speech in the state constitution included an implied right to freedom of speech in private shopping centers. The U.S. Supreme Court in turn held that the state supreme court's decision did not amount to a "taking" of the shopping center under federal constitutional law.
- Sindell v. Abbott Laboratories (1980), the Court imposed market share liability on the makers of fungible hazardous products.
- Thing v. La Chusa (1989), the Court withdrew from the expansive form of NIED set forth in Dillon and imposed a rigid bright-line test for recovery in bystander NIED cases. The Thing decision included extensive dicta hostile to plaintiffs which more generally limited the scope of recovery for both the tort of negligence and emotional distress damages in California.
- Moore v. Regents of the University of California (1990), the Court held that patients do not have intellectual property rights in profits from medical discoveries made with their body parts.
- Wendland v. Wendland (2001), the Court held that in the absence of a legally recognized method of determining who should make medical decisions on the behalf of an incompetent patient, the constitutional right to life and right to privacy granted special protection to the incompetent person.
- Yount v. City of Sacramento (2008), the Court held that a criminal conviction does not limit an individual's right to bring civil action for deprivation of rights in cases of excessive use of force.
- In re Marriage Cases (2008), the Court held that sexual orientation is a protected class which requires strict scrutiny and under such scrutiny, laws prohibiting same-sex marriage are unconstitutional under the state constitution. The state electorate overturned the marriage portion of the decision that same year by enacting a popular initiative, Proposition 8, but left in place the discrimination protections.
- Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Assn., Inc. v. Santa Clara County Open Space Authority (2008), the Court unanimously held in a Proposition 218 ("Right to Vote on Taxes Act") case that courts must exercise their independent judgment in reviewing local agency legislative decisions adopting special assessments. The highly deferential standard of review before Proposition 218 became law was grounded in separation of powers. Because the constitutional provisions of Proposition 218 were of equal dignity to the separation of powers doctrine, it no longer justified allowing a local agency to usurp the judicial function of interpreting and applying the constitutional provisions that governed assessments under Proposition 218.
- People v. Diaz (2011), the Court held that the warrantless search of information in a cell phone was valid when incident to a lawful arrest. (The holding in Diaz was eventually repudiated by the United States Supreme Court in Riley v. California.)
Notable former justices
- Serranus Clinton Hastings, Chief Justice (1850–1852) (First Chief Justice, founded Hastings College of the Law)
- Solomon Heydenfeldt, Associate Justice (1852–1857) (First Jewish justice to be elected by direct vote of the people)
- David S. Terry, Chief Justice (1857–1859) (Killed while attempting to assassinate his successor, Stephen Field)
- Stephen J. Field, Chief Justice (1859–1863) (Appointed by President Lincoln to the U.S. Supreme Court)
- Addison Niles, Associate Justice (1872–1880)
- Curtis D. Wilbur, Chief Justice (1923–1924) (Appointed by President Coolidge as U.S. Secretary of the Navy)
- Mathew Tobriner, Associate Justice (1962–1982)
- Roger J. Traynor, Chief Justice (1964–1970), Associate Justice (1940–1964) (Well-respected legal scholar; generally regarded as the greatest justice in the history of the Court)
- Stanley Mosk, Associate Justice (1964–2001) (Longest serving justice)
- Wiley W. Manuel, Associate Justice (1977–1981) (First African-American on the Court; well known for his pro bono work)
- Rose E. Bird, Chief Justice (1977–1987) (First woman appointed to the Court; only Chief Justice ever not to be retained by the electorate)
- Otto Kaus, Associate Justice (1981–1985)
- Allen Broussard, Associate Justice (1981–1991)
- Cruz Reynoso, Associate Justice (1982–1987) (First Latino on the Court)
- Janice Rogers Brown, Associate Justice (1996–2005) (Appointed by President G.W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit)
- Ronald M. George, Chief Justice (1996–2011), Associate Justice (1991–1996)
List of chief justices
|1||Serranus Clinton Hastings||1850–1852|
|2||Henry A. Lyons||1852|
|3||Hugh C. Murray||1852–1857|
|4||David S. Terry||1857–1859|
|5||Stephen J. Field||1859–1863|
|7||Silas W. Sanderson||1864–1866|
|10||Augustus L. Rhodes||1870–1872|
|11||Royal T. Sprague||1872|
|12||William T. Wallace||1872–1879|
|13||Robert F. Morrison||1879–1887|
|15||William H. Beatty||1889–1914|
|16||Matt I. Sullivan||1914–1915|
|17||Frank M. Angellotti||1915–1921|
|19||Curtis D. Wilbur||1923–1924|
|20||Louis W. Myers||1924–1926|
|21||William H. Waste||1926–1940|
|22||Phil S. Gibson||1940–1964|
|23||Roger J. Traynor||1964–1970|
|24||Donald R. Wright||1970–1977|
|25||Rose Elizabeth Bird||1977–1987|
|26||Malcolm M. Lucas||1987–1996|
|27||Ronald M. George||1996–2011|
- "Contact Us - supreme_court". www.courts.ca.gov. Archived from the original on 2019-09-23. Retrieved 2019-09-27.
- Auto Equity Sales, Inc. v. Superior Court, 57 Cal. 2d 450 Archived 2018-10-04 at the Wayback Machine (1962). In Auto Equity Sales, the Court explained: "Under the doctrine of stare decisis, all tribunals exercising inferior jurisdiction are required to follow decisions of courts exercising superior jurisdiction. Otherwise, the doctrine of stare decisis makes no sense. The decisions of this court are binding upon and must be followed by all the state courts of California. Decisions of every division of the District Courts of Appeal are binding upon all the justice and municipal courts and upon all the superior courts of this state, and this is so whether or not the superior court is acting as a trial or appellate court. Courts exercising inferior jurisdiction must accept the law declared by courts of superior jurisdiction. It is not their function to attempt to overrule decisions of a higher court."
- "Records of the Constitutional Convention of 1849". California Secretary of State. Archived from the original on January 13, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017. Art. VI, Sec. 3.
- "California Constitution". California Legislature. Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved September 27, 2017. Art. VI, Sec. 2, 16(a).
- Levinson, Jessica A. (May 8, 2014). "Op-Ed: Why voters shouldn't be electing judges". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on April 9, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Codes Display Text". leginfo.legislature.ca.gov. Archived from the original on 2015-10-31. Retrieved 2016-02-07.
- "Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation". State Bar of California. Archived from the original on June 6, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Commission on Judicial Appointments". California Courts. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Article VI, Section 16 of the Constitution of California (1879)
- "Judicial Selection in the States". Judicialselection.us. National Center for State Courts. Archived from the original on November 16, 2018. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "What Does California's Experience with Recall of Judges Teach Us?". SCOCAblog. UC Berkeley Constitution Law Center and Hastings Law Journal. November 10, 2016. Archived from the original on September 28, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- Braitman, Jacqueline R.; Uelmen, Gerald F. (2013). Justice Stanley Mosk: A Life at the Center of California Politics and Justice. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. pp. 224–226. ISBN 9781476600710. Archived from the original on 17 May 2016. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
- See People v. Kelly, 40 Cal. 4th 106, 113 Archived 2018-10-04 at the Wayback Machine (2006), which explains the 1879 constitutional convention's decision to create a seven-justice court with two three-justice departments.
- In a 1972 case, Mosk v. Superior Court Archived 2017-07-10 at the Wayback Machine, 25 Cal. 3d 479 (1979), judges were selected by lot to serve on the panel after all of the Supreme Court justices recused themselves: "The Chief Justice assigned six Court of Appeal justices, who were selected by lot pursuant to an order by the Supreme Court, to act on the petition."
- Carma Developers (Cal.), Inc. v. Marathon Development California, Inc., 2 Cal. 4th 342 Archived 2020-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (1992). All members of the Supreme Court recused themselves from the appeal of the First District's decision, so the Third District sat as an "acting" Supreme Court and gave the final opinion in the case.
- "California Courts – Appellate Court Case Information". Judicial Council of California. Archived from the original on November 7, 2017. Retrieved January 3, 2011.
- "California Courts – Appellate Court Case Information". Judicial Council of California. Archived from the original on July 29, 2020. Retrieved October 19, 2018.
- Thompson, Don (September 1, 2011). "Brown swears in new Calif. Supreme Court justice". The Sacramento Bee. Associated Press. Retrieved September 1, 2011.
- Hernández, Lauren (December 13, 2018). "California's Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye leaves the GOP, registers as no-party-preference voter - SFChronicle.com". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on January 9, 2019. Retrieved January 9, 2019.
- "Justice Ming Chin to Retire from California Supreme Court". California Courts. California Judicial Branch. January 15, 2020. Archived from the original on 19 February 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2020.
- Associated Press (January 15, 2020). "California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin to Retire". U.S. News & World Report.
- "Governor Newsom Selects Justice Martin Jenkins (Ret.) for California Supreme Court". California Governor. 2020-10-05. Retrieved 2020-10-06.
- "Newsom names a Black, gay former judge and prosecutor to the state Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. 2020-10-05. Archived from the original on 2020-10-05. Retrieved 2020-10-05.
- Egelko, Bob (October 5, 2020). "Newsom nominates Martin Jenkins to California Supreme Court, where he would be first openly gay justice". San Francisco Chronicle.
- "Press release: Supreme Court Proposes Amendments To Constitution in Death Penalty Appeals" (PDF). California Courts. November 19, 2007. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 11, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- See Snukal v. Flightways Manufacturing, Inc., 23 Cal. 4th 754, 767–768 Archived 2020-10-05 at the Wayback Machine (2000).
- Justice Goodwin Liu (2014). "How the California Supreme Court Actually Works" (PDF). UCLA Law Review. 61: 1246. Archived (PDF) from the original on 5 October 2016. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "From the Bench: Supreme Justice Paterson Resigns". San Francisco Call. 75 (139). California Digital Newspaper Collection. April 28, 1894. Archived from the original on August 23, 2017. Retrieved July 4, 2017.
(Justice Van R. Paterson) grew weary of having to swear to affidavits to the effect that the hundred and one cases under his notice had been disposed of within the statutory ninety days after submission; a proceeding necessary among Supreme Court Justices before one cent of salary can be touched
- Itir Yakar, "Unseen Staff Attorneys Anchor State's Top Court: Institution's System of Permanent Employees Means Workers Can Outlast the Justices," San Francisco Daily Journal, 30 May 2006, 1.
- "Press release: State Judicial Staff Attorneys Can Now Help Bridge the Justice Gap". California Courts. May 9, 2016. Archived from the original on July 15, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
Collectively, California's Supreme Court and Courts of Appeal employ over 400 staff attorneys.
- "Alumni News: Carin Fujisaki '85 Named Principal Attorney to Chief Justice of CA". University of California Hastings College of the Law. June 11, 2015. Archived from the original on June 15, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
The Supreme Court is a hive of activity, employing approximately 80 lawyers.
- California Constitution, Article 6, Section 14 Archived 2020-07-20 at the Wayback Machine.
- California Constitution, Article 6, Section 19 Archived 2016-04-09 at the Wayback Machine.
- Sloss, Frank H. (1958). "M. C. Sloss and the California Supreme Court". California Law Review. 46 (5): 715–738. doi:10.2307/3478622. JSTOR 3478622. Archived from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
The result was that the Department One justices soon became unable to make the monthly constitutional (Art. VI, Sec. 24) affidavit that no cases submitted longer than 90 days remained undecided, without which they could not draw their pay.
- Ross, Peter V. (1913). California Unreported Cases: Being Those Determined in the Supreme Court and the District Courts of Appeal of the State of California, But Not Officially Reported, with Annotations Showing Their Present Value as Authority. San Francisco, CA: Bender-Moss Company. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
- Flaherty, Kristina (September 2007). "State Bar celebrates its 80th anniversary". California Bar Journal. Archived from the original on June 23, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
- Cooper, Cynthia L. (Winter 2008). "Women Bar Presidents: Changing the Picture and Focus of Leadership" (PDF). Perspectives Magazine. Chicago, IL: American Bar Association: 9. Archived (PDF) from the original on October 1, 2017. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
The State Bar of California, a mandatory bar, is the largest in the nation, with 210,000 members— almost a quarter of the nation's lawyers.
- Joann Lublin, "Trailblazing Bench: California High Court Often Points the Way for Judges Elsewhere," Wall Street Journal, 20 July 1972, 1.
- Jake Dear and Edward W. Jessen, " Followed Rates" and Leading State Cases, 1940–2005, 41 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 683, 694 Archived 2014-10-18 at the Wayback Machine(2007).
- See, e.g., NBC Subsidiary (KNBC-TV), Inc. v. Superior Court Archived 2020-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, 20 Cal. 4th 1178, 86 Cal. Rptr. 2d 778, 980 P.2d 337 (1999). KNBC and the Los Angeles Times sought access to the trial of Sondra Locke's lawsuit against Clint Eastwood.
- See, e.g., Reid v. Google, Inc. Archived 2020-10-05 at the Wayback Machine, 50 Cal. 4th 512, 113 Cal. Rptr. 3d 327, 235 P.3d 988 (2010). This was Brian Reid's age discrimination lawsuit against Google.
- "Rule 8.1105. Publication of appellate opinions". California Courts. Archived from the original on October 7, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- "Rule 8.1115. Citation of opinions". California Courts. Archived from the original on May 25, 2017. Retrieved June 6, 2017.
- 4 Cal. 399 (1854)
- Traynor, Michael. "The Infamous Case of People v. Hall (1854)". California Supreme Court Historical Society Newsletter (Spring/Summer 2017): 2.
- 13 Cal. 24 (1859)
- Lee, Blewett (1899). "The Constitutional Power of the Courts Over Admission to the Bar". Harv. L. Rev. 8 (234): 250. JSTOR 1323400. in which the Supreme Court said the legislature cannot require the court to issue opinions in writing.
- 24 Cal. 2d 453, 150 P.2d 436 (1944).
- 32 Cal.2d 711, 198 P.2d 17 (1948).
- 33 Cal. 2d 80, 199 P.2d 1 (1948).
- 68 Cal. 2d 728, 441 P.2d 912, 69 Cal. Rptr. 72 (1968).
- 69 Ca. 2d 33, 442 P.2d 641 (1968).
- 69 Cal. 2d 108, 70 Cal. Rptr. 97, 443 P. 2d 561 (1968).
- 71 Cal. 2d 954, 80 Cal. Rptr. 354 (1969).
- 6 Cal. 3d 628, 100 Cal. Rptr. 152, 493 P.2d 880 (1972).
- 11 Cal. 3d 531, 113 Cal. Rptr. 897, 522 P.2d 305 (1974).
- 13 Cal. 3d 804, 119 Cal. Rptr. 858, 532 P.2d 1226 (1975).
- 17 Cal. 3d 425, 551 P.2d 334, 131 Cal. Rptr. 14 (1976).
- 18 Cal. 3d 660, 134 Cal. Rptr. 815, 557 P.2d 106 (1976).
- 23 Cal.3d 899, 592 P.2d 341 (1979), aff'd sub nomine Pruneyard Shopping Center v. Robins, 447 U.S. 74, 100 S. Ct. 2035, 64 L. Ed. 2d 741 (1980).
- 26 Cal. 3d 588, 607 P.2d 934, 163 Cal. Rptr. 132 (1980).
- 48 Cal.3d 644, 257 Cal.Rptr. 865, 771 P.2d 814 (1989).
- 51 Cal. 3d 120, 271 Cal. Rptr. 146, 793 P.2d 479 (1990).
- 26 Cal. 4th 519, 110 Cal. Rptr. 2d 4112, 28 P.3d 151 (2001).
- 43 Cal.4th 885, 183 P.3d 471 (2008).
- 43 Cal. 4th 757, 183 P.3d 384, 76 Cal. Rptr. 3d 683 (2008).
- 44 Cal. 4th 431, 79 Cal. Rptr. 3d 312, 187 P. 3d 37 (2008).
- 51 Cal. 4th 84, 244 P.3d 501, 119 Cal. Rptr. 3d 105 (2011).
- Friedenberg, Albert M. (1902). "Solomon Heydenfeldt: A Jewish Jurist Of Alabama and California". Publications of the American Jewish Historical Society. 10 (10): 129–140. JSTOR 43059669.
Media related to Supreme Court of California at Wikimedia Commons
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