Appeals and Writs
By Paul Killion, Dean Bochner, Katy Graham, Greg Wolff, Jessica Barber, Matthew Scherb,Jocelyn Sperling, Julia Shear Kushner, David Williams, Benjamin Siminou, Glenn Danas, and Ryan Wu
California Supreme Court Practice and Procedure
For the California Supreme Court, 2020 was a year of leadership in a time of crisis. At the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Court swiftly pivoted to remote oral arguments, building on its early commitment to âBlue Jeansâ technology. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye invoked constitutional1 and statutory2 powers to issue a series of emergency orders3 intended to protect the health and safety of court staff and the public, while protecting the due process rights of litigants. She cautioned that the 1,700 deaths suffered in California by April would âcontinue to rise unless the population adheres to shelter-in-place guidelines and appropriate social distancing.â4 By the end of December, Californiaâs COVID-19 related death toll reached 26,000.5 When out- rage over racial injustice peaked in June, the Court issued a formal Statement on Equality and Inclusion in which each justice, and the Court as a whole, committed to answering the call for âa justice system that works fairly for everyone.â6 In July, the Court intervened to extend the statutory deadline for displaying, approving, and certifying redistricting maps due to COVID-19 census delays.7 In August, Justice Ming
W. Chin retired, and in December, Justice Martin J. Jenkins was sworn in as his replacement. The turmoil and changes in 2020 took a toll on productivity. The Court issued only 65 opinions in 2020, 31 of which were in civil cases.