February 3, 2011

Chief Justice on Justice Moreno’s replacement, Prop. 8, term law clerks

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye met with the press yesterday. As reported by Maura Dolan in the Los Angeles Times, Laura Ernde in the Daily Journal [subscription required], and Cheryl Miller in the Recorder [subscription required], the Chief said that, to replace retiring Justice Carlos Moreno, she will urge Governor Brown to appoint someone geographically and ethnically similar to Moreno, i.e., a Southern California Latino. According to Dolan’s article, the Chief “said geographic and ethnic diversity are important to the court, and ‘it really would be helpful’ if Moreno’s successor shares his heritage and residency.”

The Times article also reports that Cantil-Sakauye said the Supreme Court could rule “as soon as next week” on the Ninth Circuit’s request for an answer to a state law standing question the Ninth Circuit believes important to deciding the Prop. 8 appeal before it. A ruling next week would be unusual. The Supreme Court typically decides at its weekly Wednesday conferences whether to answer questions posed by other courts, but there will be no conference next week because the court is hearing oral argument on Tuesday. Final letters from the parties are due to be filed today; the Prop. 8 opponents filed their letter this morning.

Ernde also has a separate article in today’s Daily Journal [again, subscription required] stating that the Chief is considering reviving the practice of having temporary law clerks for the court instead of having only career attorneys on the justices’ staffs. “Once I get a handle on what I’m doing here, I would like to give it a try,” the article reports Cantil-Sakauye as saying.

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