March 26, 2017

“California’s top justice touts strength of state courts”

Bob Egelko reports in the San Francisco Chronicle.  The headline is misleading, because the article is about a speech by Justice Goodwin Liu, not Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.  On Thursday, Justice Liu delivered the 23rd annual William Brennan Lecture on State Courts and Social Justice at NYU Law School.  “A state court can provide protection for basic liberties that otherwise would go unprotected in that state,” Liu said.  He has written about “independent state constitutionalism” before.

Liu’s talk also included commentary about the limits of Alexander Hamilton’s powers of prediction.  The article says that, despite Hamilton’s “forecast that federal judges’ status would protect them from the ‘encroachments and oppressions’ of legislative bodies, Liu said, ‘the modern Supreme Court has not generally strayed far from public opinion.’  ‘Hamilton may have been a constitutional rock star,’ Liu said, ‘but he wasn’t a political scientist.’”

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