Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Petition for Rehearing Filed in Judges' Compensation Case

The County of Los Angeles has filed a petition for rehearing in the Sturgeon case, which had held the extra compensation given by the County to its Superior Court judges unconstitutional. The petition (available here) accuses the court of having failed to apply the presumption in favor of constitutionality and the rule that the Legislature's construction of constitutional provisions is entitled to deference. Notably, however, the second point ignores the relatively recent California Supreme Court decision in Hotel Employees v. Davis, 21 Cal. 4th 585 (1999), where the Court rejected the express finding in a statutory initiative that the casinos authorized by the measure were the same as those permitted by the governing constitutional provision (which at the time permitted only casinos that were similar to those existing in Nevada and New Jersey in 1984, when the provision was adopted). The petition also argues that the court misapplied the no-delegation doctrine and that its decision will lead to absurd results.

It will be interesting to see what the taxpayers say in response to what is undoubtedly a forceful and well-argued petition. I hope to do a more thorough analysis of the decision then. Stay tuned.

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