Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Dissent Rising at the State High Court?

That's the title of Kirk Jenkins' latest DJ article today analyzing dissenting opinions at the Cal Supreme Court. He traces the history of dissent at the Court, noting how dissent was frequent in civil cases between 2000 and 2004, with many dissents by Justices Brown and Kennard. The rate declined from 2005 to 2010 after Brown went to the D.C. Circuit. Dissent from 2011 to 2015 has remained at the same 2005 to 2010 level, "But there is evidence that dissents are on the rise, now that the partisan division on the court has shifted to four appointees of Republican governors to three Democratic appointees." He concludes:
Image result for dissentWith the retirement of Justices Kennard and Baxter, it seems increasingly clear that the court is becoming more liberal in a wide range of civil and criminal matters. Although a route to a four-justice majority for the defense bar assuredly still exists on a range of different issues, defense counsel have far less room for error in assembling that majority than they have had for the most part since 2000.