The Supreme Court has twice in the last two weeks interpreted the California constitution as providing broader rights to criminal defendants than does the federal constitution.  The opinions in People v. Aranda and Gardner v. Appellate Division of the Superior Court involved the protection against double jeopardy and the right to appointed appellate counsel.

Justice Goodwin Liu concurred in both cases, but he didn’t author an opinion — for the court or separately for himself — in either.  That absence contrasts with Justice Liu’s non-judicial writings on the subject of independent state constitutions.

Recently, the Yale Law Journal published a long book review by Liu, State Courts and Constitutional Structure (2019) 128 Yale L.J. 1304.  In that piece, Liu not only examines 51 Imperfect Solutions:  States and the Making of American Constitutional Law, federal Court of Appeals Judge Jeffrey Sutton’s 2018 book, but also provides his own history of state court constitutional lawmaking, including his view that “[s]tate courts made important contributions not only to establishing the separate-but-equal doctrine but also to resisting or limiting it.”  (Also watch Justice Liu, Judge Sutton, and federal appeals court Judges Joan Larsen and Allison Eid discuss the topic last year at Duke Law School; and see Liu, State Constitutions and the Protection of Individual Rights: A Reappraisal (2017) 92 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1307; see also here and here.)