Just a month ago, when the Supreme Court issued a 4-3 decision in an arbitration case, we noted how unusual such a split vote was.  In the last week, however, there have been three more 4-3 decisions, including two today.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is the only member of the court in the majority on both of today’s cases, writing the court’s opinion in Bristol-Myers Squibb Company v. Superior Court and concurring in Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  For today at least, she is the California Supreme Court equivalent of fellow Sacramentan Justice Anthony Kennedy.

But last week, the Chief Justice dissented when a 4-3 court overturned the death penalty in People v. Grimes.

Interestingly, in the four 4-3 decisions over the last month, no two majorities have had the same four justices.  In the arbitration case — Sandquist v. Lebo Automotive, Inc. — the majority consisted of the Chief Justice and Justices Werdegar, Liu, and Cuéllar.  In Grimes, it was Justices Werdegar, Liu, Cuéllar, and Kruger.  In Bristol-Myers, it was the Chief Justice and Justices Liu, Cuéllar, and Kruger.  And in Department of Finance, the majority was the Chief Justice and Justices Werdegar, Chin, and Corrigan.