In Make UC a Good Neighbor v. Regents of University of California, the Supreme Court today rejects a lawsuit filed to block construction of housing for UC Berkeley students and low-income persons at People’s Park, what the Court of Appeal decision in the case described as “a historic landmark and the well-known locus of political activity and protest.” The appellate court had held a CEQA-required environmental impact report for the project was inadequate. Today’s decision to the contrary is largely based on legislation — enacted after the Supreme Court granted review — that was intended to undo the appellate court’s opinion.

Horvitz & Levy is among Supreme Court counsel for the Regents and other defendants in the case.

The court’s unanimous opinion by Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero concludes that the history of the legislation — Assembly Bill 1307 — “overwhelmingly establishes that the Legislature enacted the new law to abrogate the [appellate court’s] Make UC decision.” Specifically, the court finds that, because of the new law and contrary to the Court of Appeal decision, the environmental impact report wasn’t flawed for not considering (1) “whether the impacts of social noise on neighboring residents potentially caused by future students at UC Berkeley constituted a significant effect on the environment” or (2) alternative locations to the People’s Park project.

The court has a few UC Berkeley connections. The Chief Justice is an undergraduate alumna, Justice Goodwin Liu was a professor and associate dean at the law school before joining the court, and Justice Carol Corrigan was an adjunct professor at the law school for several years in the 1980s and again in the 1990s.

The court reverses the First District, Division Five, Court of Appeal published opinion.