Will young CA justices use Vergara case to audition for SCOTUS?

Will young CA justices use Vergara case to audition for SCOTUS?

kruger.scotusThe Volokh Conspiracy, the wonderful legal blog founded by UCLA law professor Eugene Volokh, had a provocative post about what might happen now that Gov. Jerry Brown has named three acclaimed youngish scholars to the California Supreme Court. George Washington University law professor Orin Kerr writes:

Leondra Kruger has been confirmed to a seat on the Supreme Court of California, a position to which she was nominated by Governor Jerry Brown last month. Governor Brown previously appointed Goodwin Liu (confirmed in 2011) and Tino Cuellar (confirmed in August).

These appointments make the California Supreme Court a court of national interest, in part because a Democratic President would likely consider Brown’s picks if there is a future U.S. Supreme Court vacancy on his or her watch. Brown’s picks share diversity, elite credentials, and youth. Given that prior judicial experience is a big asset for those hoping to land on a Supreme Court shortlist — it’s not required, but it’s helpful — Brown’s nominations likely expand the set of candidates to be considered if or when there is a future SCOTUS vacancy under a Democratic president in the next few Presidential election cycles.

As the picture above suggests, Kruger has already handled big cases before SCOTUS, representing the Obama administration. If Kruger, Liu and Cuellar are intrigued by this possible promotion, that seems to make it more likely that individually or together they will stake out bold new stands on major issues. There’s a pent-up desire among millions of liberals for more Warren Court-style sweeping rulings addressing perceived issues of social justice. A Democratic president, even a center-left politician, would see appointing activist judges to the high court as an easy way to please big Dem constituencies.

Brown vs. Board of Education for 21st century?

This could bode very well for the reformers behind the Vergara vs. California case.

The trial court judge, Rolf Treu, likened state laws that funnel the worst teachers to the schools with the most troubled students to segregated schools that existed in the South before the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education ruling, one of the most monumental in U.S. Supreme Court history. The state is now appealing Treu’s finding that teacher protection laws are unconstitutional because of their negative effect on minority students, and the case is close to certain to end up before the California Supreme Court.

If I were a CTA or CFT lawyer, this dynamic would worry me a lot — especially after reading the Vergara editorial in the most influential journal of liberal opinion, the New York Times:

The ruling opens a new chapter in the equal education struggle. It also underscores a shameful problem that has cast a long shadow over the lives of children, not just in California but in the rest of the country as well.


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  1. Liz
    Liz 27 December, 2014, 12:45

    I’m not sure how many signatures are needed to remove the brown stain on California but come the first of the year. I will treat it as a JOB….

    Reply this comment
    • bob
      bob 27 December, 2014, 13:32

      I wish you luck. Unfortunately when the Colliefornia (as Ahnode calls it) voters are offered the choice between freedom and slavery, they choose slavery nearly every time and elect statists like Jerry Brown every time. My opinion is that the next governor will be a DemoNcrat and will be even worse than Brown.

      Reply this comment
  2. T Mind of your Ted Godhead System
    T Mind of your Ted Godhead System 27 December, 2014, 14:37

    It’s just a shame when an executive at either level selects a nominee with NO prior judicial experience. I can not believe tht in the entire US that there are NO qualified sitting jurists and the selections from pure academia often, but not always, produce a justice with little to no real world practical judicial experience— a justice should understand judging at all lower levels.

    Here endeth the lesson.

    Trolls post at once with your usual dull-normal indicia.

    Reply this comment
    • Rex the Wonder Dog!
      Rex the Wonder Dog! 27 December, 2014, 20:15

      LOL…Just tell Leondra Kruger and Goodwin Liu that Marbury v. Madison was the first case ever decided by the SCOTUS, then they will know how wise you are, and how little they know. BTW Teddy, most “sitting jurists” (appointed)in this state are dumber than a bag of rocks. Wow, I just realized something- you would fit in good with them 🙂

      Reply this comment
  3. Gregory Brittain
    Gregory Brittain 27 December, 2014, 16:33

    Yes, but voting which way will help get you appointed to the US Sup. Court by a Dem president? The Dem party almost uniformly supports the teachers unions over educating children, and poor children in particular.

    Conservatives place education children ahead of the teacher unions and the educational establishment.

    There is nothing like competition to improve quality and lower costs.

    Reply this comment
  4. desmond
    desmond 28 December, 2014, 05:18

    Two points, agree that the next Governor will be worse, probably a socialist at heart. The teachers unions are not happy with common core. The national democrat party is responsible; California’s democrat party is all about the teachers.

    Reply this comment

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