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Shifting alliances tally up to more unpredictable CA Supreme Court

Posted By Administration, Tuesday, February 2, 2016

After decades of domination by conservatives, the newly reconstituted state Supreme Court is now approaching political parity.

Mariano Florentino Cuellar
Cuéllar takes the oath of office from Gov. Jerry Brown (AP Photo)

It’s not just the three fresh Democratic justices appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown who have altered the high court’s makeup. Goodwin H. Liu, appointed in 2011, was joined last year by Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar and Leondra R. Kruger.

That made for a 4-3 divide that still favors the Republican appointees: Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, the chief justice, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, Ming W. Chin and Carol A. Corrigan. But it is Werdegar’s political odyssey leftward – not the new appointees – that is shifting the bench calculus.

In themselves, Brown’s appointments have uncanny echoes of the 1970s and ’80s, during his first term as governor. Brown placed seven justices on the court, three of whom were ousted from the bench in a politically charged 1986 retention election focused on Chief Justice Rose E. Bird’s rejection of the death penalty.

Read the whole story at California Bar Journal

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