October 11, 2013
As mentioned, the Legislature passed a bill — SB 655 — to tinker with the Supreme Court’s important February employment law decision in Harris v. City of Santa Monica. Yesterday, Governor Brown vetoed the bill, giving props to the unanimous, six-justice Supreme Court decision (Justice Baxter recused himself after oral argument), and particularly to Justice Liu, the opinion’s author and the governor’s only appointee on the current court.
The governor didn’t quite say that the legislation was the legal equivalent of defacing a masterpiece, but his brief veto message was in the neighborhood. He wrote: “This measure is in response to the recent Supreme Court ruling in Harris v. City of Santa Monica (2013) 56 Cal.4th 203, related to workplace discrimination. I think Supreme Court Justice Goodwin Liu got it right in his well-reasoned opinion in that case and I see no reason for further legislative intervention.”
This isn’t the first time that the governor has protected Supreme Court decisions from legislative responses.