The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 26, 2010
More about the recent Supreme Court furlough decision

Last week's decision by the state Supreme Court to reject Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's furlough lawsuit consolidation request prompted many State Worker blog users to e-mail or call with questions about the ruling:

How many members of the court were involved in the decision?

All seven justices weighed in. Justice Joyce Kennard was the only one who indicated she would have granted the governor's request.

The court's ruling was very brief. Will the court publish more about the decision?

Click the following link for the answer to this question and others about the state Supreme Court's decision.

No. If the entire matter was accepted for review, the court would write an opinion with a detailed written explanation. But when the court is asked to accept legal issues for review or to consolidate pending cases and issues an order, as in this case, then the decision is generally a short and sweet yes or no. "Sometimes, however, the court does issue more detailed orders," court spokeswoman Lynn Holton told The State Worker in an e-mail, "but not in this case."

Did the justices' personal politics play a role in the court's ruling?

We've noticed that some comments on this blog speculate if a judge was appointed by a Republican governor that it follows that he or she will side with Schwarzenegger, a Republican. Conversely, if the judge was appointed by a Democrat the reverse is true.

The Schwarzenegger administration has also accused unions and other parties that object to furloughs of "judge shopping," by filing in Bay Area courts. Conversely, the unions have leveled the same charge at Schwarzenegger for filing cases in Sacramento.

Do those accusations hold up? Not in this case. Here's who appointed the seven state Supreme Court justices. (Remember, they have to be re-elected to stay on the job.)

Justice

Appointed by

Year

Chief Justice Ronald M. George

Gov. Pete Wilson

1991

Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter

Gov. Pete Wilson

1991

Associate Justice Ming W. Chin

Gov. Pete Wilson

1996

Associate Justice Carol A. Corrigan

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger

2005

Associate Justice Joyce L. Kennard

Gov. George Deukmejian

1989

Associate Justice Carlos R. Moreno

Gov. Gray Davis

2001

Associate Justice Kathryn M. Werdegar

Gov. Pete Wilson

1994

We're working on getting histories of all the judges who have ruled on furlough matters in the lower courts. Watch for that post later this week.

What does this mean to the seven cases that the governor had hoped the court would take?

They will continue their present course. The CASE, PECG/CAPS and SEIU Local 1000 appeals now in the 3rd District Court of Appeals look like they'll be first up for oral arguments. Click here for more about that.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at jortiz@sacbee.com.

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