Thursday, May 23, 2024

Opinion tackles appealability of stipulated judgments

2/7 publishes an interesting opinion today on appealability here:

This case presents an unusual set of circumstances. We first address the appealability of the parties’ stipulated judgment and conclude that, while we have serious reservations about its appealability, we are required to give effect to the parties’ intent to obtain appellate review of the trial court’s demurrer ruling.  This appeal—involving what one amicus curiae characterizes as a “cherry-pick[ed]” respondent—is at the outer limits of what constitutes a justiciable case. As explained further below, the exception allowing appeals from stipulated judgments warrants revisiting from the California Supreme Court as the Courts of Appeal have been unable to craft reasonable limits on it given the expansive language with which the exception was articulated in Norgart.

CAAL Inaugural Fellows!

California Academy of Appellate Lawyers Announces 
Inaugural Fellowship Program Year and New Fellows

The California Academy of Appellate Lawyers is pleased to announce that it has launched the inaugural year of its Fellowship Program. The program will allow up to four lawyers a year who are budding appellate practitioners to enhance their skills in the appellate arena through participation in Academy’s educational and social programs. This year’s fellows are:

·         Dominika Anna Campbell of Los Angeles Dependency Lawyers in Los Angeles;

·         Shandyn H. Pierce of Hanson Bridgett in San Francisco;

·         Jason Siu of Horvitz & Levy, LLP, in San Francisco; and

·         Kian Tamaddoni of Benedon & Serlin, LLP, in Woodland Hills.

Founded in 1972, the Academy is the nation’s oldest lawyers’ organization dedicated to appellate practice. Our members are California lawyers with substantial appellate experience, who are elected to membership after rigorous scrutiny of their reputation, character, and appellate advocacy skills. Academy members are very frequently counsel of record in the most complex and highest-impact cases before the California Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeal, and federal appellate courts.

Biden reaches 200


Bloomberg Law has Biden Reaches 200-Judge Mark as Time Wanes to Fill Circuit Seats

  • The Senate confirmed Joe Biden’s 200th judicial nominee, putting Biden slightly ahead of his predecessor’s record at this point in their respective presidencies but still behind the Republican’s pace on appointments to the Supreme Court and appeals courts.
  • Of the president’s total appointees, 64% are women and 62% are people of color, the White House said in a statement.
  • Biden’s appointments include 155 judges to district courts, 42 to circuit courts, and one Supreme Court justice.
  • Former President Donald Trump had appointed 196 judges by this point in his presidency, including 141 district judges. But he also had 51 appellate judges and two of his three Supreme Court justices in the books.
  • Biden has seven current and future circuit court vacancies he can fill.
  • Of the six future circuit vacancies, half have pending nominees.
Law360 has New Bill Calls For High Court To Explain Emergency Rulings -- A coalition of Democratic lawmakers introduced a bill Wednesday that would require the U.S. Supreme Court to provide vote tallies and explanations for decisions in most cases on its elusive emergency docket.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Circuit font roundup

The Advocacy Blog has posted A Font by Any Other Name Does Not Read the Same which notes:

The First and Fourth Circuits issue opinions in Courier. The Second and Seventh Circuits utilize Palatino. The Fifth Circuit favors Century Schoolbook, as does the Supreme Court (although its orders are rendered in the very odd Lucida Sans Typewriter) and the Federal Circuit. The rest, the Third, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, and Eleventh rely on Times New Roman.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

4th Dist. job openings

The Fourth District, Division Three in Santa Ana is recruiting for an Assistant Deputy Clerk II-III. The job posting can be found on court’s career website under Job ID 6238. The application deadline is June 10, 2024.

The Fourth District, Division Two in Riverside is recruiting for a Central Staff Attorney.  The job posting can be found on the court’s career website under Job ID 6233.  The application deadline is June7, 2024.

The Fourth District, Division One in San Diego is recruiting for a Chambers or Central Staff Attorney.  The job posting can be found on the court’s career website  under Job ID 6231.  The application deadline is May 31, 2024.

Circuit argument stats has Which Federal Appeals Courts Grant Oral Argument the Most and Least Often?

  • D.C., Second and Seventh circuits held oral argument in a higher percentage of appeals than other circuits from 2022 to 2023.
  • Third, Fourth, Sixth and Eleventh circuits were at the other end of the spectrum.
  • Circuit norms, workloads and geographical constraints explain differences among circuits, attorneys say.
The First Circuit holds oral arguments at a rate that’s on the higher end compared with other federal appeals courts. Thirty-one percent of the First Circuit’s appeals that were terminated on the merits were decided after oral argument between September 2022 and September 2023, according to statistics from the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. The D.C. Circuit had the highest rate (48%), followed by the Second (36%), Seventh (35.7%) and then the First Circuit. On the opposite end of the spectrum are the Fourth (13%), Third (13.4%) and Sixth and Eleventh circuits (both 13.6%).

On the topic of oral argument, today's Garner's Usage Tip of the Day explains that a "podium" is (1) a low wall serving as an architectural foundation; (2) a raised platform that a speaker or orchestra conductor stands on; dais; or (3) a stand for holding a speaker's notes; lectern. "Sense 3, once widely condemned as a misuse, has become commonplace. But careful writers tend to avoid it."

Monday, May 20, 2024

DJ profiles PJ Earl: "We've righted the ship."

Today's DJ has Presiding Justice Laurie Earl has transformed the 3rd District Court of Appeal -- She was also instrumental in leading Sacramento Superior Court through the COVID-19 pandemic and a budget crisis. (Prior DJ profiles ran 9/5/2016 and 2/27/2007.)

Earl was confirmed as the new presiding justice 13 months after Raye left. Eisenberg recently dove back into the 3rd District's performance numbers.

"The court's turnabout since Administrative Presiding Justice Earl took charge has been quite remarkable," Eisenberg said. "Most cases are now being calendared for oral argument between three and five months after the completion of briefing, whereas previously it could take years, and opinion production for each justice is substantially exceeding the statewide average. Kudos to the 3rd District."

Law260 has Solicitor General Says No High Court Case Is 'Hopeless' about comments by SG Prelogar on Saturday at the 47th Colorado Annual Women's Bar Association convention:

I have never argued a case where I thought it was entirely hopeless and there was no room for effective advocacy," said Prelogar, who was nominated by President Joe Biden in 2021 and is the second woman to serve as the federal government's top litigator. "I always think that there is room to try to shape the opinion and the way that the court thinks about the case, to try to potentially mitigate the effects of a decision, to try to point the court to a narrower ruling, or to carve out specific applications," Prelogar continued.

Friday, May 17, 2024

SF Courtroom closure

The 1st District has issued notice that the courtroom will be closed from June 17 to July 20, 2024 and all oral arguments during that time will be conducted remotely.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

MPB on 70th Ann. of Brown v. Board

The Marble Palace Blog: AI Meets 'Brown v. Board'

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of the landmark Supreme Court decision "Brown v. Board of Education." To celebrate the day, AI groups have gathered to bring new life to learning about the case.

Here is a YouTube hint of how the project all came out:

Another website worth seeing is Brown v. Board of Education (1954).

AB2125 downgraded to 'study' bill

 The Recorder has Legislation to Allow Disqualification of Appellate Judges Weakened to 'Study' Bill

State lawmakers on Thursday gutted a bill that would have allowed litigants to disqualify
courts of appeal justices, thwarting advocates unhappy with a panel’s actions in a pending voting rights case.

The Assembly Appropriations Committee removed language in AB 2125 authorizing parties to challenge justices who write or concur with opinions reversed by the state Supreme Court and remanded to the court of appeal for further action. The bill instead will now simply require a two-year study of how trial court judges, commissioners and referees are currently removed from cases for prejudice under Code of Civil Procedure 170.6.

1st District pro tem update

 The following are currently sitting on assignment in the 1st DCA:

  • Justice Peter J. Siggins (retired) will be sitting pro tempore in Division One until July 19, 2024.
  • Judge Christopher Hite of San Francisco County Superior Court will be sitting pro tempore in Division Four until May 31, 2024.

Cal Appellate courts soft-launch new websites

The Courts of Appeal has posted a Special Announcement:

We are excited to announce the launch of a new website and will be retiring the current site on May 30, 2024.  Explore the new look, functionality, and bookmark the new pages by visiting our new California Courts of Appeal Website

The Italian American Lawyers Association program for June 19, California For All, will feature Judicial Appointments Secretary Luis Cespedes and 2/7 PJ Gonzalo Martinez. 

Bloomberg Law has Ghostwriters Try Steering Supreme Court Justices Away from Cases

Law360 has Justices Say Deadline To Appeal Federal Furlough Is Flexible about Harrow v. Department of Defense, #23-21: "We hold that the limit, like most filing deadlines, is not jurisdictional," Justice Elena Kagan wrote for the court. NLJ has Supreme Court Says Filing Deadline for Federal Workers Not Hard and Fast

And Law360 has Justices Say Courts Must Stay Suits Sent To Arbitration; NLJ has Justices Say Lawsuits Must Be Kept Alive During Arbitration

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Speedy Justices?

  • Brett Kavanaugh proved fastest among the three Supreme Court justices who ran the ACLI Capital Challenge, though he got beat by the solicitor general. Kavanaugh, 59, finished the three-mile race on Wednesday in 24 minutes, 20 seconds, which was slightly behind his 2023 pace.
  • that wasn’t good enough to top Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar of team “Racing in the Morning Suits Us.” She finished in 22 minutes, 23 seconds.
  • Justice Amy Coney Barrett, 52, who was part of the “Sua Sprinte” team, finished in 26 minutes, 9 seconds. She was ahead of Ketanji Brown Jackson, 53, who wore a T-shirt bearing her team name, “Junior Justice League,” and finished in 33 minutes, 24 seconds.
  • A current Barrett clerk finished first among judicial branch participants. Nathaniel Sutton, son of Sixth Circuit Judge Jeffrey Sutton, finished third overall with a time of 15:44.
Bloomberg Law also has Federal Circuit Judges Detail the Fastest Ways to Lose Your Case
  • Several types of blunders during oral argument can torpedo cases that are otherwise in the bag, Federal Circuit judges warned a conference room of appellate litigators.
  • “I think as many cases are lost at oral argument as are won at oral argument,” said Judge Timothy B. Dyk, who was an appellate lawyer before joining the influential court with jurisdiction over patent cases in 2000.
  • Taking too long during arguments, refusing to make any concessions, and displaying outward animosity to opposing counsel are fast-track ways to lose the judges you’re appearing before
  • One way lawyers lose points that Dyk said “happens with some frequency” is advocates refusing to engage with the court’s hypothetical.

CLA's Litigation Section's Litigation Update: May 2024 is here.

The Recorder has The History and Continued Viability of California’s Unpublished Cases Rule -- "Surely a court would be better off with the benefit of a unique, on-point, but unpublished case than having to decide an issue in a vacuum," write Kevin Frankel and Christian Hochhausler of McGuireWoods.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

CJA confirms new PJ & Justices

The CJA held hearings today confirming the appointments of Justice Gonzalo Martinez as PJ of 2/7, Judge Natalie P. Stone to 2/7, and Tara Desautels to 1/2. All three were sworn in immediately after their hearings.

With today's confirmations, the only open seat in the 2d is the PJ spot for Division 5. In the 1st, there are two open seats (in 1/4 and 1/1).

See 3 Justices Confirmed to Los Angeles, San Francisco Appellate Courts -- Following Tuesday's confirmations, the Judicial Council announced it will expand a mentorship program for aspiring appellate justices to include attorneys interested in becoming research counsel in the state's courts of appeal.

Law360 has Ex-Squire Patton Atty Among Latest Calif. Judges Sworn In

  • Justice Martinez told the commission he truly loves his job, but also strives to remembers that "behind every case is a person." With his elevation to presiding justice, he has become one of the highest-ranking openly gay men in the state's judiciary. During his speech, Justice Martinez mentioned Supreme Court Justices Martin J. Jenkins and Kelli Evans, both members of LGBT community, as inspirations.
  • Friends and colleagues speaking for her called Justice Stone "conscientious" and "making those around her look better" due to her dedication and commitment to the job. ... After being sworn in, Justice Stone noted the importance of remembering the laws affect the human. "I intend to keep in mind the human facet rather than just the cold facts," she said.
  • Speaking on her behalf, Judge Charles Smiley of the Alameda County Superior Court called Justice Desautels an "exceptional talent" and "a big thinker" who cares about the institution of the judicial branch and the job jurists are doing. ... Supreme Court Justice Carol A. Corrigan lauded Justice Desautels, calling her an exceptional candidate and "the real deal," praising Justice Desautels' ability to explain the intricacies of the law with great clarity.
  • In 2023, the associate judges of the court received a salary of $264,542, according to the National Center for State Courts.

Appellate Mentorship Program Expands

Appellate Mentorship Program Expands to Court of Appeal Attorneys -- Program aims to diversify pool of justices and attorneys working in the appellate courts.
More than 50 people have graduated from California’s judicial mentorship program for aspiring appellate justices—the program’s newest goal is to also diversify the branch’s hundreds of appellate court attorneys, who help justices research and write opinions. The job can also serve as a stepping stone to future service on the superior court or appellate bench.

The Fourth District, Division Two in Riverside is recruiting for a Central Staff Attorney. The job posting can be found on the court’s career website under Job ID 6233. The application deadline is June7, 2024.

The Recorder has Latest Budget Proposal Takes Aim at Court Reporter, Interpreter Hiring Incentives -- The governor's cutback plans must still be approved by the Legislature, which has pushed for more funding for court reporters and interpreters.

Bloomberg Law has Chief Justice Talks Prairie Dogs as Colleagues Talk Substance

US Supreme Court Justices Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh spoke about the challenges of the busy shadow docket. Sonia Sotomayor on the coming of artificial intelligence. And Samuel Alito the threats to fundamental freedoms. John Roberts talked about prairie dogs. The chief justice is one of five current and former justices who spoke publicly from May 10 to 14.

His focus on history in a speech to an influential appeals court’s conference Tuesday contrasts to comments from his colleagues on the issues surrounding the high court, which faces historically low approval ratings amid ethics scandals and an aggressive 6-3 conservative majority.

3d Dist. oral arg amendment

The 3d District has amended its oral argument procedures. The court in recent times operated under a rule that anyone wishing to appear remotely for oral argument had to apply in writing to demonstrate exceptional good cause. With recent technology upgrades, the court now has the capability to conduct oral argument in the courtroom through video-conferencing or a combination of in person and video appearance. As a result, the court has decided to eliminate the requirement that litigants must apply to appear remotely (and demonstrate good cause to appear remotely). The court has updated its oral argument waiver letter and information on the webpage. Anyone requesting oral argument will now have to let the court know whether they will appear in person or remotely on video. The updated website now reads:
Procedures and Etiquette for Remote Appearances
While the court prefers oral argument be conducted in person, with recent technology updates the court now has the capability to conduct oral argument in the courtroom through video conferencing or a combination of in person and video appearances. With limited exception, the court will no longer hold oral argument by telephone. Request for telephonic oral argument will be treated as a request for remote appearance by video conference. A remote hearing is a court proceeding, and it is the expectation that all those appearing before the court dress in professionally appropriate attire. Additionally, participants are advised to be conscious of their background and are further encouraged to have an appropriate background or to use an appropriate virtual background. Instructions for remote appearances may be viewed here

Monday, May 13, 2024

3d DCA pro tem update


State Bar Bd of Trustee opening

Supreme Court Appointment to the State Bar Board of Trustees

The Trustees Nominating Committee (TNC) is now accepting applications for Supreme Court consideration and appointment to the State Bar Board of Trustees. The TNC seeks attorney candidates with an active California law practice. Attorneys appointed by the Supreme Court serve for a four-year term and can be reappointed for one additional term only.

Please review the Trustees Nominating Committee Fact Sheet for application details.

To apply, please complete an online application by Mon., May 20, 5:00 p.m.

For questions about the TNC application or process, please contact

RA job at 1st DCA

The Court of Appeal, First Appellate District in San Francisco is accepting applications for a central staff attorney vacancy. A regular full-time Appellate Court Attorney position will be staffed at Level B, Level C, Level D, or Senior. Minimum qualifications: active CA bar membership and 2 years of post-bar experience. Experience in criminal and/or civil appellate practice is desirable. Candidates should possess superior research/writing skills and the ability to present statements of fact, law, and argument clearly and logically. Please see the job announcement #6228 for specific levels and salary ranges. For information and an application call 415-865-7369 or visit: To ensure earliest consideration, please apply by May 24, 2024.

And speaking of dreams, the Recorder has With No Drama and a Few Jokes, Justice Goodwin Liu Tells USC Law Grads to 'Live Your Dreams' -- Liu offered a mix of lighthearted remarks, inspirational anecdotes and an analysis of how things have changed since he gave his first commencement speech at the school in 2012.

The NLJ has Sotomayor, Speaking With Civics Students, Eyes AI's Impact on Law -- “We have two wars going on,” Sotomayor said at the New York State Bar Association’s civics convocation. “We have problems with health and education. We have difficulties in our political realm. We have not created a world that I had wanted to create when I was your age.”

  • Sotomayor is a board member of iCivics, a nonprofit organization that promotes civics education and was founded in 2009 by the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. Sotomayor advanced one of its priorities, urging all schools to offer social media literacy. The justice also encouraged the students to gain more of their information from firsthand sources, rather than repeat commentators or journalists.
  • She said the hardest part of being a Supreme Court justice pairs with the realization that a court case isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition.
Law360 has Alito Warns Freedoms Of Speech, Religion Are In Danger -- Justice Alito told the 2024 graduating class of the Franciscan University of Steubenville in eastern Ohio that they were lucky to have attended "one of the few" universities left in the country that supports reasoned debate. Outside of the private Catholic university, that wasn't the norm, he claimed.

Bloomberg Law has Kavanaugh, Thomas Raise Concerns Over Shadow Docket Pressure; the Wall St. Journal has Justice Brett Kavanaugh Wants More Cases—but Don’t Rush -- Kavanaugh said the court’s case load is too light, about 60 arguments a year in recent years rather than the 75 he believes the justices should be handling. From the late 1950s through the early 1990s, the court often heard 150 or more cases annually, but the number has steadily declined since.

Law360 has Calif. May Allow Judges To Work Remotely In Civil Matters
  • California's Judicial Council next week will consider amending court rules to allow judges to preside remotely over civil proceedings from a location other than a courtroom.
  • The proposed rule, devised by the Judicial Council's Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee, would apply only to presiding over civil cases, not criminal cases or juvenile proceedings. It also would not apply to appellate courts.
The DJ has Steven Kimball's An honor to dream not of -- Being nominated to the US Supreme Court is not an honor worth pursuing, as it involves lying, politicization, and elitism.

Friday, May 10, 2024

1st DCA pro tem

 The following judge is currently sitting pro tem in the First District:

  • Judge Christopher Hite of San Francisco County Superior Court will be sitting pro tempore in Division Four until May 31, 2024.