Thursday, November 10, 2016

Election Fallout on the Appellate World

Articles about how Trump's election will affect the federal judiciary and federal laws are everywhere.

Today's lead DJ story, Trump Win Likely to Have Quick Impact on 9th Circuit, notes that the 9th will have four vacancies when Trump takes the helm (there are two openings now, the seats of Judges Pregerson and Silverman, and Clifton and O'Scannlain step down from active service next year). There are also three vacancies in the Central District and one in the Southern District. The DJ states that the election results likely have "badly damaged"the prospects of Judge Koh and 24 other Obama nominees awaiting confirmation votes.

Image result for mushroom cloud
The election's impact on California appellate practice comes from the passage of Prop. 66. Today's DJ story Death penalty cases may speed up, but critics say Prop. 66 will not work: Measure to speed up death penalty appeals raises questions, says that it's unclear how Prop. 66 will be implemented and that its opponents have said its provisions, including a faster timeline for appeals, are unrealistic.

So let's revisit the CAAL's letter opposing Prop. 66, which asserts that "Proposition 66 would impose crushing burdens on California's Supreme Court and intermediate appellate courts, disrupting and delaying thousands of other cases for years to come."
  • Prop. 66 requires the Supreme Court to decide all death penalty appeals within five years -- without providing any additional judges, staff, or funding. To comply, the court would have to delay decisions in other cases and perhaps reduce the number of other cases it takes.
  • Prop. 66 would adversely affect the Court of Appeal, which now has to review death penalty habeas corpus appeals. And Prop. 66 imposes a time limit for that, again without providing additional judges, staff, or funding. This means delay in resolving other cases.
  • Prop. 66 requires lawyers who want to be appointed to represent indigent criminal defendants in serious non-death criminal cases must also agree to represent clients sentenced to death. "Some skilled appellate lawyers will decline appointments due to this requirement."
The Recorder reports that Prop. 66 opponents have asked the Supreme Court to block its enforcement. See As Votes Are Tallied, Death Penalty Foes Sue to Stop Ballot Initiative.