In general, it’s a long shot to get the Supreme Court to hear a case. But the odds increase if the case is in an area of interest to the court. So, it was noteworthy when the soon-to-be newest justice, Martin Jenkins, disclosed during his confirmation hearing some of the legal issues he thinks the court might address in the future.
California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, one of the three members of the Commission on Judicial Appointments, asked Jenkins to identify “a couple of areas” where Jenkins believes the court “will have an opportunity to give the definition of justice a more rounded sense.”
Jenkins first mentioned Batson/Wheeler issues, which concern how to prevent discriminatory jury selection, a subject that is already a hot-button issue at the court (see here). Noting the recent “tumult over issues of racism and issues that relate to sort of a view from a caste system perspective,” he said Batson/Wheeler is an area where the court “is continuing to try to give guidance” and he explained that a new statute on the subject (AB 3070 (see here and here)) “perhaps will be tested at . . . the high court.”
Jenkins also acknowledged “we saw a lot in this election about issues of climate . . . and the environment,” and named the California Environmental Quality Act as “another area where the supreme court’s guidance . . . is necessary.” He called CEQA “a very robust statute,” but said “there are many, many issues that remain yet to be resolved with respect to various statutory requirements and even some of the definitional language of that statute.”
Video of the question and answer is here.