April 9, 2017

Prop. 66 argument before term’s end?

The Supreme Court announced its early-May calendar last week and Briggs v. Brown is not on it.  Briggs is the writ petition challenging Proposition 66, the voter-approved but currently stayed expedited-execution initiative that could wreak havoc with California’s judicial system in general and the Supreme Court in particular.

There are two more oral argument calendars — late-May and June — before the annual July-August argument hiatus.  It’s a good bet that the court will schedule Briggs for one of those two.  That would be unusually fast, but Briggs is one of those unusual cases that often gets expedited treatment.

The court set a very tight briefing schedule for Briggs and gave notice that it did “not anticipate granting any extensions of time” for that schedule.  For the most part, the court has stuck to that warning, except for accepting an amicus brief a week beyond the deadline it had set.

When the court requires expedited briefing in high-profile cases, oral argument often quickly follows.  Examples include cases regarding the governor’s furlough and line-item veto powers, the elimination of redevelopment agencies, a new redistricting system, and a criminal justice initiative sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown.  Even then, however, a faster-than-normal hearing is not fast enough for some parties — e.g., the Proposition 8 standing case.

The court should issue its late-May and June calendars within the next three or four weeks.

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