Talk:Roger J. Traynor

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I agree that this article lacks a neutral point of view. I could point out, with citations to his opinions, that Traynor is the reason that California is known as the land of fruits and nuts. I could also point out that this progressive state has severe problems with pollution, illegal immigration, and is well known for its unsolved crimes involving serial killers.

Marking this page as NPOV, specifically for the following two sentences:

"Traynor is widely considered to be the single greatest judge in the history of the California judiciary, and one of the greatest judges in the history of the United States."

"Traynor authored several brilliant majority opinions which transformed California from a relatively conservative, backward frontier state into a liberal, progressive jurisdiction in the forefront of innovation in the law."

The first sentence seems to be an unsupported opinion. The second has several problems: first, the "brilliance" of the opinions is unsupported; second, the association of "conservative" with "backward frontier state" is unneeded and pejorative; third, the association of "liberal" with "forefront of innovation" is also a matter of opinion; fourth, it seems a bit insulting to refer to 1950s California as "backward".

Colin M. 02:41, 29 August 2005 (UTC)

Hello from the person who drafted this article: Any American lawyer today is familiar with Traynor's opinions (or at least recognizes the name). The sequence of Escola v. Coca-Cola Bottling, followed by Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, is mandatory in standard first-year Torts courses, and the PG&E case is often used in the first-year Contract course (especially at West Coast law schools). Go to a law bookstore and look at the standard casebooks used in those courses sometime. --Coolcaesar 03:00, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Well, I was exasperated that I have to go research the obvious, but then I remembered that for non-lawyers, this is not obvious. So I went and did a little research. When I have time I will do more. Hope this helps. --Coolcaesar 03:36, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
As for "liberal" and "conservative," political liberals have tended to support changes in American law that were introduced by Traynor, while political conservatives have opposed them. Also, California had a rather repressive legal system in the 1950s, with oppressive laws that regulated where members of specific races could live (see History of California), required anyone ever convicted of a felony to register with the police chief of their city of residence, and prohibited the use of foul language in public (Cohen v. California). All those laws (and many others) were eventually held to be unconstitutional. The liberal trend launched by Traynor peaked with cases like Pruneyard Shopping Center under Chief Justice Rose Bird, and now the court is rather centrist. --Coolcaesar 03:44, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Thanks for the edits, the current article is already looking much better. Colin M. 04:51, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
Also, including the examples you gave above (about the oppressive laws) would help a lot to explain what is meant by California being "backward", if you get the chance to write those up. If not, maybe I will will try to add them in myself in a few days. I'm sorry that the first sentence wasn't "obvious" to me, but no, I'm not a lawyer :) Colin M. 04:57, 29 August 2005 (UTC)
This page looks much better now. Removed the NPOV tag. Thank you! Colin M. 23:21, 29 August 2005 (UTC)


Who appointed him? Kaisershatner 16:07, 19 October 2005 (UTC)

Based on the years at List of Governors of California, Culbert Levy Olson appointed him an associate justice, and Pat Brown appointed him chief justice. Gentgeen 08:23, 6 November 2005 (UTC)

Why Loweeel's edits were reverted[edit]

Here is why the discussion of the PG&E case was deleted:

(1) Wrong style. Subjective first-person sarcasm has no place in an encyclopedia, especially when the same points can be expressed neutrally (and just as powerfully) in the objective third person voice. See Wikipedia:Policies and guidelines.

(2) Of minimal relevance. Tort reformers and conservatives (e.g., Peter Huber) usually focus more on Greenman than PG&E, because they see Greenman's enormous expansion of product liability as much more of an issue (in terms of its economic impact) than PG&E's relatively minor expansion of the complexity of contract litigation. Thus, the substantial quote from Hayward's attack on Greenman is sufficient to get the point across for casual readers.

(3) Original research. Any criticism of the PG&E case should be a paraphrase (with appropriate citations) of a published critique like the National Review article. Wikipedia is not a place to publish original research.

Finally, Traynor's response to his critics is more than relevant when read in context, although that statement won't make much sense to anyone who hasn't taken a Evidence course yet.

--Coolcaesar 08:43, 4 December 2005 (UTC)

POV statement in Criticism?[edit]

It seems to me that the following language either demonstrates POV or indicates that the critical quote that follows it is invalid and does not deserve entry into the article:

In blunt language apparently based upon a misunderstanding of the extent of judicial power under the rule of stare decisis...

One of the following must be true: 1. The editor does not agree with Mr. Hayward's subjective view regarding the extent of judicial power under the rule of stare decisis, or 2. The extent of judicial power under the rule of stare decisis is objective and does not allow for interpretation. Mr. Hayward's understanding is objectively incorrect.

If #1 is true, then this language demostrates a POV. If #2 is true, then why would we include an extended quote from someone too ignorant of the law to render a useful opinion?

Of course, if we were to delete the extended quote, there would be essentially no criticism of Mr. Traynor at all, which would seem a touch odd for such an important figure in an area as full of contention as the law. Indeed, most of the "Criticism" section would then consist of Traynor's defense of his judicial philosophy!

Either we need to strike the POV language or find better criticism. My gut tells me that the POV language ought to go and let the reader decide the merit of the criticism.

Mmccalpin 12:26, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

The basic problem with Hayward's attack is that he completely fails to recognize that common law judges have been openly deciding public policy questions for almost a thousand years. That kind of mistake is often seen among unsophisticated conservatives who are unfamiliar with the history of the common law. Intelligent, law-trained conservatives concede that public policy questions are within the purview of judges, but attack Traynor and his ilk for grossly exceeding the boundaries of traditional judge-made law or for intruding into areas where the legislature has already spoken. --Coolcaesar 21:28, 15 August 2006 (UTC)

Conflict of Laws[edit]

Traynor was a key figure in the conflict of laws revolution - one might say that he struck the match above the proverbial powder keg, particularly by giving judicial force to the work of Brainerd Currie. This should be researched and discussed in this article. 00:35, 27 December 2006 (UTC)

well do it Victuallers (talk) 09:38, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Stephen Hayward's Criticism[edit]

Isn't there a more intelligent conservative critique of Traynor? Stephen Hayward doesn't even have a JD, and it shows. The notion that it is somehow illegitimate for a common law judge to consider public policy in formulating tort law is asinine. Anyone with even a passing familiarity with the common law would understand that tort law has always been developed by judges.

Traynor's certainly not above criticism, and many of his decisions have engendered controversy. But why does anyone have to read this garbage? (talk) 20:38, 15 January 2009 (UTC)

Notable cases OR[edit]

I've tagged the notable case section as OR. Simply put, an editor has selected cases, redlinked them, given case citation data, and provided a brief explanation. But this material is not based on WP:RS (independent of the case citation). Sure, some of these cases are notable -- cases don't make it to the Supremes unless important issues are to be resolved. But we can't select them for notability, doing so is putting our spin on their notability. I'll await comments and article improvement, but sooner or later they need to go. --S. Rich (talk) 18:36, 15 July 2012 (UTC)

Planning to fix citations to Johnson book[edit]

Today, while at the county law library, I looked through J. Edward Johnson's two-volume series of books on the California Supreme Court justices for the first time in almost twelve years. User:Wikidea made some really awful edits to the article on 2 January 2011 that turned my original citations in December 2005 into a giant mess. I have been very frustrated for a long time about that, but had lost track of the photocopies I made back in 2005. Today I made new photocopies of the book's article on Traynor, so I can fix the citations by looking at the book I was citing in the first place. Any objections before I set about fixing the article in a few weeks? --Coolcaesar (talk) 04:15, 24 August 2017 (UTC)

Stop acting like your president, and learn some manners. I have no objection to you doing anything - it seems to me the main thing I did was add a case list for Traynor J. I also seem to have reorganised the headings. It's unfortunate if you feel this interfered with what you'd done before, but it wasn't on purpose. Just express yourself with courtesy next time. Wikidea 09:52, 24 August 2017 (UTC)