July 27, 2011

The Supreme Court doesn’t always answer the Ninth Circuit’s questions

We’ve noted that the California Supreme Court has the authority to answer state law questions referred to it by courts of other jurisdictions and that the Supreme Court will usually agree to answer those questions when asked to do so. But not always. The court today declined to answer the Ninth Circuit’s question about special education costs. The vote was 4-1, with Justice Kennard saying the court should grant the Ninth Circuit’s request for an answer and Justice Werdegar absent and not participating.

PS [posted by Lisa Perrochet on August 1]: Justice Ming Chin, sitting as a panelist at a law conference last week, confirmed that the Supreme Court is generally very accommodating to such requests from the Ninth Circuit, but in this particular instance, it appeared that an indispensable party had not been joined. That’s something to keep in mind when pondering what factors the Court considers when reviewing these requests.

Leave a Reply