Cal. Litig. 2017, Volume 30, Number 3

A Transitional Center: The California Supreme Court 2016 – 2017

By Gerald F. Uelmen

The departure of Associate Justice Kathryn Werdegar and the appointment of her successor by Governor Jerry Brown may be the final step in the transformation of the California Supreme Court from a conservative bastion in an increasingly liberal state to a Court that fully matches the bluest state in the nation.

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During the 2016-2017 term, from July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017, Justice Werdegar, along with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, formed a transitional center, flanked by Justices Ming Chin and Carol Corrigan on the right, and the three Jerry Brown appointees, Justices Goodwin Liu, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, and Leondra Kruger on the left. The poles are now defined by Justice Corrigan on the right and Justice Liu on the left. They recorded the highest rate of disagreement on the Court, voting on opposite sides in 16.5% of the cases. The lowest rate of disagreement was that recorded between Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Justice Werdegar, who were on the same side in 96.7% of the cases. (See Table 3.)

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