The Supreme Court today announced a five-case early-May calendar.  For the foreseeable future, arguments will be partially remote and in San Francisco.  (See here and here.)  One of the cases is a closely watched pension matter.

May is the only month with two separate calendars.  The second one will come two weeks after the first.

On May 5, in San Francisco, the court will hear the following cases (with the issue presented as summarized by court staff or stated by the court itself):

Weiss v. People ex rel. Department of Transportation:  Can the procedure permitted by Code of Civil Procedure section 1260.040 be used in an inverse condemnation action to determine in advance of a bench trial whether a taking or damaging of private property has occurred?  The court granted review in June 2018.

Alameda County Deputy Sheriff’s Association v. Alameda County Employees’ Retirement Association:  This is the pension case.  It includes the issue whether statutory amendments to the County Employees’ Retirement Law (Gov. Code, § 31450 et seq.) made by the Public Employees’ Pension Reform Act of 2013 (Gov. Code, § 7522 et seq.) reduced the scope of the pre-existing definition of pensionable compensation and thereby impaired employees’ vested rights protected by the contracts clauses of the state and federal Constitutions.  The court granted review in March 2018.  (Related:  here and here.)

Wilde v. City of Dunsmuir:  Can the electorate use the referendum power (Cal. Const., art. II, § 9) to challenge a city’s resolution increasing water fees or is such a challenge expressly limited to the power of initiative (Cal. Const., arts. XIII C & XIII D, § 6 (Proposition 218))?  Just two weeks ago, the court asked for supplemental briefing on this issue:  Does the exception to the referendum power in article II, section 9, subdivision (a), of the California Constitution apply to all statutes providing for tax levies, or only those statutes providing for tax levies that are “for usual current expenses of the State”?  (See Geiger v. Board of Supervisors (1957) 48 Cal.2d 832, 836, fn. *.)  The court granted review in January 2019.

In re Brace:  At the Ninth Circuit’s request, the court will decide, “Does the form of title presumption set forth in section 662 of the California Evidence Code overcome the community property presumption set forth in section 760 of the California Family Code in Chapter 7 bankruptcy cases where:  (1) the debtor husband and non-debtor wife acquire property from a third party as joint tenants; (2) the deed to that property conveys the property at issue to the debtor husband and non-debtor wife as joint tenants; and (3) the interests of the debtor and non-debtor spouse are aligned against the trustee of the bankruptcy estate?”  (Links added.)  It was in January 2019 that the court agreed to answer the Ninth Circuit’s question.

People v. Vargas:  This is an automatic direct appeal from an October 2001 judgment of death.  The court’s website does not list issues for such cases.  Counsel was appointed in July 2006.  Briefing was completed in June 2013.