SCOCAblog, the online publication of the California Constitution Center at Berkeley Law and of the UC Law Journal, writes that “the valid concerns some have raised about the court’s opinion output do not constitute a crisis.”

The blog says that comparing the current decade to the last, “there were fewer petitions for review, more vacancies, more new justices without prior judicial service, a new grant-and-hold policy, and changes in individual justice performance . . . [that] can explain both the higher annual figures in the past and the lower figures today.”

SCOCAblog concludes: “it’s a fair criticism that our take on this issue is overly charitable. There’s a colorable argument that the court is not granting review in cases it should decide, taking too long to draft opinions, and deciding too few cases. And it is clear that the new justices since [Chief Justice Ronald] George left [in January 2011] have moved the court’s culture toward increasing the internal process time required to produce and review opinions. Still, we think it best to presume that public servants are acting diligently and with good intentions. Which cases to decide in its discretionary docket, how quickly, and how many are ultimately policy decisions for the court’s justices.”


“SCOCA is taking longer to decide its cases”

SCOCAblog’s year in review: are more grant-and-holds a reason for fewer opinions?

Underestimating the burden of grant-and-hold disposals

“What’s ailing the California Supreme Court? Its productivity has plummeted”