Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Petition For Review Filed In Judicial Salary Case

Here is the petition for review filed by Los Angeles County in Sturgeon v. County of Los Angeles, the judicial salary case. Many amicus letters have been filed in support of the petition, but none that I have seen adds much to the legal arguments made by the petition.

Besides contending that the decision below will lead to calamitous results for the administration of justice, the petition makes two legal arguments about how the decision below erred. First, as discussed in previous posts (here and here), the petition contends that the Court of Appeal wrongly held that the doctrine requiring deference to legislative interpretations of the Constitution applies only when the constitutional provision and the relevant legislation were contemporaneous. There are numerous counter-examples, including the decision in Pacific Legal Foundation v. Brown, 29 Cal. 3d 168 (1981), in which I represented the State Personnel Board. Second, the petition argues that the Court of Appeal misconstrued the nondelegation doctrine in disallowing the Legislature's attempt to give the counties total discretion to supplement the "base" judicial salary.

The plaintiffs did not file an answer to the County's petition for rehearing in the Court of Appeal, because the court did not request one. It will be interesting to see what they say in response to the petition. At that point, we'll evaluate the arguments and make a prediction about the grant of review.

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