February 6, 2013
In Harris v. City of Santa Monica, the court will decide whether the “mixed-motive” defense applies to employment discrimination claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, section 12900 et seq.). Three weeks ago, the court filed an order stating, “The undersigned hereby recuses himself from any further participation in this matter,” but the court’s online docket does not identify the “undersigned” and we haven’t seen the order itself. We also don’t know why there would be a recusal more than a month after oral argument, which seems unusually late in the game for such an action.
[Update: As reported at the time by Scott Graham of The Recorder, the recusal was Justice Baxter and the likely reason was that, a week earlier, “two San Francisco employment attorneys filed a pregnancy discrimination suit against [Justice Baxter's daughter], an East Bay attorney, alleging she violated California’s Fair Employment and Housing Act by terminating a pregnant housekeeper.”]
The other opinion is in People v. Williams, an automatic appeal from a November 2000 judgment of death.
Both opinions can be viewed online beginning at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow.