June 25, 2014

Employment opinion filing tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will file its opinion in Salas v. Sierra Chemical Company, which was argued in April.

Initially, Salas presented the issues whether the trial court err in dismissing plaintiff’s claims under the Fair Employment and Housing Act (Gov. Code, § 12900 et seq.) on grounds of after-acquired evidence and unclean hands, based on plaintiff’s use of false documentation to obtain employment in the first instance, and whether Senate Bill No. 1818 (2001-2002 Reg. Session) precludes application of those doctrines in the case (see Civ. Code, § 3339; Gov. Code, § 7285; Health & Saf. Code, § 24000; Lab. Code, § 1171.5).  Later, the court asked for supplemental briefing on this issue:  Does federal immigration law preempt state law and thereby preclude an undocumented worker from obtaining, as a remedy for a violation of “state labor and employment laws” (Lab. Code, § 1171.5; Civ. Code, § 3339; Gov. Code, § 7285; Health & Saf. Code, § 24000), an award of compensatory remedies, including backpay? (See Hoffman Plastic Compounds, Inc. v. NLRB (2002) 535 U.S. 137.)

The Salas opinion can be viewed tomorrow starting at 10:00 a.m.

June 24, 2014

Article explores Governor Brown’s opportunity to reshape the Court with three appointments

In an article in Monday’s Daily Journal[subscription required], Emily Green explores the fact that Governor Brown now has the opportunity to appoint a total of three justices to the Supreme Court.  He appointed Justice Goodwin Liu in 2011, and now must appoint replacements for Justice Joyce Kennard (who retired in April) and Justice Marvin Baxter (who will not seek reelection this year).

So what kind of justices is Brown likely to appoint?  Green quotes First District Court of Appeal Justice J. Anthony Kline, who served as Brown’s legal affairs secretary in the 1970’s, as saying Brown wants to appoint more justices like Liu.  Green interprets that to mean accomplished progressive intellectuals who “stir[] the pot” and “‘question conventional attitudes.’”

Green describes the present Court (other than Justice Liu) as embodying “what might be described as old school Republicanism: business-friendly, but not overwhelmingly so, conservative on criminal cases, and moderately progressive on social issues.”  No doubt the addition of two more smart, left-leaning justices could cause some ripples and might alter the balance of power on such a court.  But only time will  tell if former Second District Court of Appeal Justice Miriam Vogel is correct to be concerned that, as a result, the Court may become “‘less friendly to business.’”

June 24, 2014

California Supreme Court addresses class action and representative action waivers in Iskanian

Yesterday, the California Supreme Court issued its much-anticipated arbitration opinion in Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles, an appeal which concerned the impact of AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion on class action and representative action waivers in employment arbitration agreements.

The Iskanian opinion tackled several subjects but began with an analysis of Concepcion’s impact on California’s prohibition against class action waivers in wage and hour cases.  Several years ago, in Gentry v. Superior Court, the California Supreme Court concluded that class action waivers in employment agreements to arbitrate state statutory wage and hour claims could be invalidated as a matter of California public policy if individual arbitration would not as effectively vindicate the employee’s substantive state rights.  Gentry also determined that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) did not preempt this prohibition against class action waivers.

Iskanian now holds that, under Concepcion, the FAA “preempts Gentry’s rule against employment class waivers.”  Iskanian also holds that federal labor law does not foreclose enforcement of a class action waiver in an employment arbitration agreement.

But the Iskanian opinion concludes that, where an arbitration agreement compels the waiver of a representative claim under the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA)—which permits employees to bring representative civil actions against their employers to recover civil penalties for certain violations of the Labor Code—this waiver is contrary to California’s public policy and therefore unenforceable.  According to the Court’s majority opinion, PAGA permits employees to recover these penalties on behalf of the state and thus, in the majority opinion’s view, the FAA does not preempt this prohibition against representative action waivers because the FAA focuses on the resolution of private disputes whereas a PAGA action is a dispute between an employer and the state.  (Justice Chin’s concurring opinion agreed that the waiver of a PAGA representative action was unenforceable but did so based on a different rationale.)

It will be interesting to see whether the case makes its way to the United States Supreme Court, and if so, whether that court rejects the Iskanian opinion’s prohibition against waivers of representative PAGA actions.  Notably, in direct conflict with the Iskanian opinion, many California federal district courts have held that waivers of a representative PAGA action are enforceable under the FAA.  Consequently, after Iskanian, motions to compel the arbitration of PAGA claims on an individual basis may now receive a far warmer reception in California’s federal district courts than they will in California’s state courts.  This conflict between state and federal courts over matters of federal preemption could potentially persuade the U.S. Supreme Court to step in and resolve the conflict.

Moreover, the bases that led Iskanian to prohibit representative action waivers are in conflict with federal law.   For example, Justice Liu’s majority opinion concludes that the FAA does not preempt this prohibition after analogizing PAGA claims to qui tam actions brought under federal laws like the False Claims Act (FCA).  But if this analogy meant to imply that parties cannot be compelled to arbitrate FCA claims, that conclusion appears to be at odds with several federal court decisions holding that FCA claims are subject to arbitration under the Federal Arbitration Act.  (See, e.g., Deck v. Miami Jacobs Business College Co. (S.D.Ohio Jan. 31, 2013) 2013 WL 394875, at pp. *6-*7.)  As one federal court has explained, “[w]hile [an] FCA action [is] necessarily ‘brought in the name of the Government,’ ” the action “still represents a claim belonging” to the non-governmental plaintiffs.  (Id. at p. *7; see also United States v. Bankers Ins. Co. (4th Cir. 2001) 245 F.3d 315, 324-325 [“Statutory civil claims are subject to the arbitration process, and the Government has demonstrated no valid basis for placing the FCA claim in a different category”].)  The majority opinion also concludes that the prohibition against representative action waivers falls outside the FAA’s coverage because, in the majority opinion’s view, PAGA claims are disputes between an employer and the state.  But, as Justice Chin’s concurring opinion explains, this premise cannot be squared with U.S. Supreme Court precedent.

[Full disclosure: Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus brief in support of the employer in Iskanian, arguing that the FAA preempts Gentry after Concepcion.]

June 23, 2014

Summary of June 18, 2014 conference report for civil cases

Review Granted

Solus Industrial Innovations v. Superior Court (People), S217651—Review Granted and Transferred to CA 4/3—June 18, 2014

Two factory workers were instantly killed when a water heater exploded in the defendant’s manufacturing facility. After the Division of Occupational Safety and Health determined the explosion had been caused by the defendant’s failure to provide a proper safety valve, the district attorney filed a civil action against that included a request for civil penalties. The question presented is “whether federal law preempts the effort by a district attorney to recover civil penalties under California’s Unfair Competition Law (UCL) (Bus. & Prof. Code, §17200 et seq.) based on an employer’s alleged violation of workplace safety standards.”

The district attorney argued California retains significant discretion to determine how it will enforce its safety standards on the grounds that California’s workplace safety plan has been approved by the U.S. Secretary of Labor (the Secretary).  Accordingly, California “may empower prosecutors to enforce those standards through whatever legal mechanism is available when such a case is referred to them.”  The trial court concurred and overruled the defendant’s demurrer.

In a published opinion, Solus Industrial Innovations, LLC v. Superior Court (2014) 224 Cal.App.4th 17, the Court of Appeal, Fourth District, Division Three, vacated the trial court’s order and directed it to sustain the defendant’s demurrer without leave to amend. The court reasoned that “because the [federal Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 (29 U.S.C. §651 et seq)] “allows a state to avoid federal preemption only if it obtains federal approval of its own plan, it necessarily follows that a state has no authority to enact and enforce laws governing workplace safety which fall outside of that approved plan.” Accordingly, the Court of Appeal reasoned, since “California’s workplace safety plan, as approved by the Secretary, does not include any provision for civil enforcement of workplace safety standards by a prosecutor through a cause of action for penalties under the UCL,” it is preempted by federal law.

The Supreme Court granted review and transferred the matter to the Court of Appeal “with directions to reconsider the matter in light of Statutes 1972, chapter 1084, pp. 2020-2021.”

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

None.

June 21, 2014

Arbitration, AED opinions filing Monday

On Monday, the Supreme Court will file opinions in two much-watched civil cases.

In Iskanian v. CLS Transportation of Los Angeles LLC, which was argued in April, the court will answer these questions:   (1) Did AT&T Mobility LLC v. Concepcion (2011) 563 U.S. __ [131 S. Ct. 1740, 179 L.Ed.2d 742] impliedly overrule Gentry v. Superior Court (2007) 42 Cal.4th 443 with respect to contractual class action waivers in the context of non-waivable labor law rights? (2) Does the high court’s decision permit arbitration agreements to override the statutory right to bring representative claims under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act of 2004 (Lab. Code, § 2698 et seq.)? (3) Did defendant waive its right to compel arbitration?  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus curiae brief in this case.]

Verdugo v. Target Corporation was argued on the early-May calendar.  In that case, at the Ninth Circuit’s request, the court will answer this state law question — “In what circumstances,  if ever, does the common law duty of a commercial property owner to  provide emergency first aid to invitees require the availability of an Automatic External Defibrillator (‘AED’) for cases of sudden cardiac arrest?”

Both opinions can be viewed online Monday beginning at 10:00 a.m.

June 18, 2014

Restitution opinion filing tomorrow

The Supreme Court tomorrow will file its opinion in Luis M. v. Superior Court, which was argued in April.  The opinion will address whether the restitution order in the case of felony vandalism for acts of graffiti could be based on the victim city’s average cost of removing, cleaning, and repairing incidents of graffiti on an annual basis, or whether proof of the actual costs of mitigating the graffiti at issue in the case was required.

The opinion can be viewed online tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m.

June 18, 2014

Justice Marvin Baxter is retiring

Justice Marvin Baxter announced this morning that he will not seek reelection in November.  His term will thus expire on Monday, January 5, 2015.  Justice Baxter has served on the Supreme Court for 24 years.

Justice Baxter said in a statement that he has been “privileged to have such an interesting and fulfilling career in the law, serving as a deputy district attorney, in private practice, as Appointments Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian, and as an Associate Justice on the California Court of Appeal and Supreme Court.”  He said he and his wife “look forward to an active retirement and will focus our time and attention on family and friends, traveling, hobbies, and charitable activities.”

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye lamented Justice Baxter’s impending retirement:  “I was very fortunate when I became Chief Justice to have the quiet-spoken and reflective Justice Baxter on my left-hand side not only on the Supreme Court but also on the Judicial Council.  I will miss his sage advice and counsel.”

With Justice Baxter’s retirement and the current vacancy created by Justice Kennard’s retirement earlier this year, Governor Brown will soon have the opportunity to add his second and third appointees to the current court.  Technically, probably only one of them will be an appointee; Justice Baxter’s replacement will likely be a nominee.  This is because of the different ways that Justices Kennard and Baxter have chosen to leave the court:  Justice Kennard by resignation and Justice Baxter by expiration of his term.

When a justice declines to run for reelection, the governor has until September 16 of the election year to “nominate a candidate” who, if confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, will appear on the November ballot.  The governor’s appointee to succeed Justice Kennard, however, might not appear on the ballot for another four years, depending on the timing of the appointment.

It is unclear whether the governor can forego nominating a candidate for Justice Baxter’s seat and then appoint a new justice when Justice Baxter’s term expires in January, which would allow that appointee to avoid facing the voters until 2018.  The constitution doesn’t seem to allow that option; it provides that the governor “shall” nominate a candidate by September 16 when a justice decides not to seek reelection.

June 16, 2014

Summary of June 11, 2014 conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, June 11, 2014.  The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.  This week we also note an original writ proceeding in the Supreme Court, which challenges aspects of the First District Court of Appeal’s electronic filing system.

Review Granted

Judicial Council of California v. Superior Court (Bean), S218055—Review Granted and Transferred—June 11, 2014

The Judicial Council filed a petition for writ of mandate in the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Five.  (To our chagrin, we have not been able to determine the nature of the relief sought in the petition.)  The Court of Appeal denied the writ petition.  The Supreme Court granted the Judicial Council’s petition for review and transferred the matter back to the Court of Appeal.  The Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeal to vacate its order denying the petition and issue a new order directing the trial court to show cause why the relief sought should not be granted.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

Dodd v. Cruz (Medical Finance), S217534–June 11, 2014

In Dodd, the Court of Appeal had held, consistent with the holdings in Howell v. Hamilton Meats & Provisions, Inc. (2011) 52 Cal.4th 541 and Corenbaum v. Lampkin (2013) 215 Cal.App.4th 1308, that a defendant is entitled to discovery to determine how much a medical finance company actually paid for a receivable representing the cost of medical services.

The plaintiff sustained injuries from a car accident, for which he sought medical treatment to a medical provider.  The medical provider sold the receivable for the services performed to a third-party medical finance company. The medical finance company contended the plaintiff was liable for 100 percent of the face amount of the receivable, i.e., 100 percent of the billed amount.  After the plaintiff sued the defendant for injuries sustained in the accident, the defendant served th medical finance company with a subpoena for production of business records in order to prove collusion between the plaintiff and the medical finance company.  The medical finance company moved to quash the subpoena, arguing the documents were confidential, proprietary, and irrelevant.  The trial court granted the motion on the ground that the information sought by the subpoena was irrelevant.

In a published opinion, Dodd v. Cruz (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 933, the Court of Appeal reversed.  It held the trial court abused its discretion in granting the motion and awarding sanctions.  The Court of Appeal held the defendant was allowed discovery into the facts and circumstances surrounding this transaction, including how much the medical finance company actually paid for the receivable.  The Supreme Court ordered the Court of Appeal’s opinion depublished. [Full disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy LLP represented the defendant and appellant in this matter.]

Court of Appeal Directed to Provide Status Report

Schwinn v. First District Court of Appeal (Montgomery), S218548–June 11, 2014

This case was initiated in the Supreme Court via a petition for writ of mandate or prohibition against the First District Court of Appeal, with a request for stay, challenging aspects of the First District’s electronic filing system (EFS).  The Supreme Court directed the Court of Appeal to file a status report with the Supreme Court by July 11, 2014, indicating whether ImageSoft, the operator of the EFS, has made any changes to its conditions requiring EFS users to submit to the laws of the State of Michigan and to the jurisdiction of the courts in Michigan, or whether the court itself has made any amendment to the requirement in its Local Rule 16 that attorneys use the EFS. (Cal. Rules of Court, rule 8.70.)

As of March 17, 2014, the First District  generally required all civil filings to be made through the court’s EFS, operated by ImageSoft TrueFiling.  (Ct. App., First Dist., Local Rules of Ct., rule 16, Electronic filing.)

June 11, 2014

Academic debate continues to rage over the value of oral argument in the California Supreme Court

As we noted back in April, in a recent article in the UCLA Law Review, Professor Daniel Bussel has taken issue with the California Supreme Court’s practice of having a draft opinion written before oral argument.  Bussel charges that the practice, which he believes indicates the Court has already decided how to rule before oral argument, renders oral argument a sham that violates litigants’ due process rights.

In his recent riposte, “How the California Supreme Court Actually Works:  A Reply to Professor Bussel,” Justice Goodwin Liu strongly disagrees with Bussel’s conclusions.  Justice Liu writes:

“I have seen enough to know that Professor Bussel’s account of how the California Supreme Court treats oral argument bears little resemblance to reality. Our decisionmaking process does not deprive litigants of a real opportunity to influence the court through oral argument. If anything, our process enhances the opportunity for attentive litigants to address what the court regards as the true sticking points in a given case. Moreover, although Professor Bussel contends that oral argument plays a greater role in the United States Supreme Court than in the California Supreme Court, there is no reason to think this is so. Whatever the shortcomings of our decisionmaking process, subjecting litigants to oral argument that is ‘nothing more than the curtain of the Wizard of Oz’ is not one of them.”

Professor Bussel, in his reply article, “The Best of All Possible Worlds? — A Rejoinder to Justice Liu,” disputes Justice Liu’s assertion that the crafting of a draft majority opinion merely identifies the “key sticking points in the case.”   In Professor Bussel’s view, “[t]he preliminary written response process does not identify ‘the key sticking points’ [fn. omitted]; it tentatively resolves them through majority vote as expressed in the preargument circulation of signed written memoranda.”  But, Bussel adds, “[t]he real problem is that it defies common sense to suggest that meaningful persuasion can take place at the subsequent oral argument, after an undisclosed preliminary consensus has been forged on the basis of the reporting justice’s draft opinion, which is vetted through a process of intensive written deliberation, particularly under the pressure of the 90-day rule.”

It sounds like Justice Liu and Professor Bussel will have to agree to disagree.  One thing both authors seem to agree on is that more scholarly analysis of the decisional practices of the nation’s appellate courts would be useful.

For further discussion of what passes for a heated debate in the normally staid appellate world, check out Emily Green’s article, “State Supreme Court’s drafting of decisions before oral argument draws fire,” in the June 2, 2014 issue of the Daily Journal [subscription required].

June 11, 2014

Insurance coverage opinion filing tomorrow

Tomorrow morning, the Supreme Court will file its opinion in Hartford Casualty Insurance Company v. Swift Distribution, Inc., which was argued in April.  In this case, the court will decide whether the allegations of the complaint constituted disparagement for purposes of insurance coverage or the duty to defend under the “advertising injury” provision of defendant’s insurance policy.  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy filed an amicus curiae brief in this case.]

The opinion can be viewed online tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m.

June 5, 2014

No conference held the week of June 2, 2014

The Court is holding no conference this week because it is hearing oral argument in Los Angeles.  Accordingly, this week no action will be taken on petitions for review and no opinions will be ordered published or depublished.

June 4, 2014

Red-light camera, death penalty opinions filing tomorrow

The Supreme Court will file three opinions tomorrow morning.

People v. DeBose is an automatic appeal from a July 1999 judgment of death.

People v. Trinh is an automatic appeal from an April 2003 judgment of death.

People v. Goldsmith concerns red-light cameras.  The issues are:  (1) What testimony, if any, regarding the accuracy and reliability of the automated traffic enforcement system (ATES) is required as a prerequisite to admission of the ATES-generated evidence? (2) Is the ATES evidence hearsay and, if so, do any exceptions apply?

All three cases were argued in April.  After tomorrow, six of the dozen April-calendar cases will still be awaiting decision.

The opinions can be viewed online tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m.

May 30, 2014

Aider and abettor murder, imperfect self-defense opinions (probably) filing Monday [UPDATED]

The Supreme Court has not announced it yet, but it will probably file on Monday morning at least two three opinions.  Monday is the last day within the 90-day period to file opinions in the two of the cases, which were argued in March.

People v. Chiu raises the question:  Does a conviction for first degree murder as an aider and abettor under the natural and probable consequences doctrine require that premeditated murder have been a reasonably foreseeable consequence of the target crimes or only that murder have been such a consequence?

In People v. Elmore, the court will decide whether the doctrine of imperfect self-defense applies when the defendant’s actual, but unreasonable, belief in the need to defend himself was based solely on a psychotic delusion.

The third opinion will be in People v. Brown, an automatic appeal from a February 1996 judgment of death.  Brown was argued in April.

The opinions can be viewed online Monday beginning at 10:00 a.m.

May 28, 2014

No conference held the week of May 26, 2014

The Court is holding no conference this week because it is hearing oral argument in San Francisco.  Accordingly, this week no action will be taken on petitions for review and no opinions will be ordered published or depublished.

May 28, 2014

Senate supports 125-year-old bar application

As noted, some UC Davis law students are seeking to have the Supreme Court reconsider its 1890, race-based denial of Hong Yen Chang’s bar admission application (In re Hong Yen Chang (1890) 84 Cal. 163).  The effort got a boost yesterday from the California State Senate which unanimously approved a resolution calling for “Mr. Hong Yen Chang’s admittance to the State Bar of California posthumously to remedy the injustice he suffered and to send a powerful message about the legal profession’s commitment to justice, diversity, and inclusion.”

May 28, 2014

Public Records Act, class action opinions filing tomorrow

The Supreme Court will file two opinions tomorrow morning.

In Long Beach Police Officers Association v. City of Long Beach, the court will decide whether the names of police officers involved in on-duty shooting incidents are subject to disclosure under the California Public Records Act.

Duran v. U.S. Bank National Association raises issues concerning the certification of class actions in wage and hour misclassification litigation and the use of representative testimony and statistical evidence at trial of such a class action.  [Disclosure:  Horvitz & Levy has filed an amici curiae brief in this case.]

Both cases were argued in March.

The opinions can be viewed online tomorrow beginning at 10:00 a.m.

May 22, 2014

Summary of May 21, 2014 conference report for civil cases

The following is our summary of the Supreme Court’s actions on petitions for review in civil cases from the Court’s conference on Wednesday, May 21, 2014.  The summary includes those civil cases in which (1) review has been granted, (2) review has been denied but one or more justices has voted for review, or (3) the Court has ordered depublished an opinion of the Court of Appeal.

Review Granted

People v. Miami Nation Enterprises, S216878—Review Granted—May 21, 2014

The question presented is whether tribal sovereign immunity applies under the “arm-of-the-tribe” doctrine to five payday loan advance businesses owned by the Miami tribe of Oklahoma?

The defendant, Miami Nation Enterprises, operates the payday loan advance businesses in violation of both state and tribal law. The state brought an action to enjoin the businesses from continuing unlawful operations.  Sovereign immunity applies to federally recognized tribes, immunizing them against actions in state and federal court. Many federal and state opinions, including those of the California Supreme Court, recognize an “arm-of-the-tribe” prong extending the immunity to qualifying subordinate entities of the tribe.  The trial court dismissed the action for lack of jurisdiction based on sovereign immunity.

The Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Seven, affirmed in a published opinion, People v. Miami Nation Enterprises (2014) 223 Cal.App.4th 21.  It held the central question in determining whether the “arm-of-the-tribe” doctrine applies is this:  “Are the tribal entities sufficiently related to their respective tribes to be protected by tribal sovereign immunity.”  The court held the businesses at issue qualified as “arms-of-the-tribe” and thus were protected from suit by sovereign immunity.

Review Denied (with dissenting justices)

None.

Depublished

None.

Notable Denials

As discussed here, the Court denied review yesterday in Highland Park Heritage Trust v. City of Los Angeles (Autry National Center of the American West), S217172, allowing to stand an unpublished decision by the Court of Appeal, Second District, Division Two, that will allow the remodeling of the Gene Autry Western Heritage Museum in LA’s Griffith Park.

May 19, 2014

Timing of Supreme Court appointment will affect appointee’s election status

There is a vacancy on the Supreme Court, caused by the retirement last month of Justice Joyce Kennard.  It might take a few more months for Governor Brown to name a replacement.  But the timing of the appointment will affect more than just how many Court of Appeal justices will be needed to serve as pro tems on the high court.  It will also determine whether the appointee will stand for election this November or in 2018.

New Supreme Court and Court of Appeal justices — after being appointed or nominated by the Governor and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments — appear on the ballot at the next gubernatorial election, where the voters are asked to decide “yes” or “no” whether the justice should be retained in office.  (California does not have contested elections for appellate justices, unlike some other states.) That is what happened with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who was nominated in July 2010, confirmed by the Commission in August, and retained by the voters that November.  It is also what is happening this year with Justice Goodwin Liu (assuming he timely files his declaration of candidacy), because this is the first gubernatorial election since his August 2011 confirmation.

At some point, it will be too late for Justice Kennard’s replacement to be confirmed by the Commission and still appear on the November 2014 ballot.  When is that confirmation deadline for this year’s election?  It’s not entirely clear to us, but we think the date is August 16 (or August 18 because the 16th is a Saturday).  (Article VI, section 16, subdivision (d), is not a model of clarity on this issue and alternate interpretations are welcome.)  But the point is that a confirmation on one day would mean the new justice will face the voters within a few months and a confirmation the following day would allow the justice to serve for four years before being on the ballot.

May 18, 2014

Former Justice Moreno confirmed as ambassador to Belize

Ten months after his nomination, retired Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno was confirmed by the Senate last week as the next United States ambassador to Belize, the Central American country formerly known as British Honduras.

May 16, 2014

Realignment Act opinion filing Monday

On Monday morning, the Supreme Court will file its opinion in People v. ScottScott, which was argued in April, raises the issue whether the defendant was entitled to a county jail commitment under the Criminal Justice Realignment Act of 2011 when the trial court imposed and suspended execution of a prison sentence before the Act’s effective date, but revoked probation and ordered execution of the sentence after the Act went into effect.

The opinion can be viewed online Monday beginning at 10:00 a.m.