In the News

Will Supreme Court ruling reopen death chamber at San Quentin?

Elisabeth Semel quoted in The Press Enterprise, June 29, 2015

“It is premature to speculate about how this is going to play out,” said Elisabeth Semel. “The future of the death penalty in California is very much up in the air.”

California now under pressure to propose lethal injection method

Elisabeth Semel quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2015

Anyone who considers California’s resumption of executions “needs also to contemplate the fact that this means we are going to put to death 750 people”—the approximate number on death row—“which I don’t think anyone has the appetite for,” she said.

States have ‘no obligation’ to accept same-sex marriage ruling

Melissa Murray interviewed by NPR, June 29, 2015

“The United States Supreme Court may not have the power of the purse and the sword like Congress or the executive—Alexander Hamilton famously called the Court the least dangerous branch because it lacked the kind of power to enforce its own judgments. But the fact of the Supreme Court judgment—the fact that the Supreme Court has the power to interpret the law is a power in and of itself.”

Lawsuits over California water rights are a fight a century in the making

Holly Doremus quoted in Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2015

The board “is starting to say certain kinds of uses are unacceptable, even if you hold senior rights, at least under dry conditions,” Doremus said.

Q&A: How will same-sex marriage ruling be enforced across the U.S.?

Melissa Murray interviewed by Los Angeles Times, June 29, 2015

“You should think of Brown v. Board of Education, which desegregated schools,” Murray said, referring to the 1954 Supreme Court ruling that struck down separate-but-equal schools as unconstitutional. “But it actually took years for that to happen because so many Southern states dragged their feet.”

Why is marriage Supreme?

Melissa Murray quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, June 28, 2015

That’s a fine conclusion, Murray said, but “for those of us who are interested in the project of respecting different kinds of family forms, in making things good for children of single-parent homes, a Supreme Court opinion that venerates marriage sends the message that everything outside of marriage is not worthy of dignity.”

Same-sex marriage ruling affirms dignity for all

Melissa Murray quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2015

Melissa Murray … said the ruling exemplifies “constitutional dynamism, a Constitution that’s keeping pace with where we’re going.” But Murray, while praising the result, said Kennedy’s “doctrinal thread is a little loose” and fails to set clear standards for future cases.

Opinions of Supreme Court justices in same-sex marriage ruling studied

Jesse Choper quoted on ABC 7 News, June 26, 2015

“He covered every base. He covered the due process clause. He covered the equal protection clause. It’s a long opinion and it simply confirmed what those who consider themselves professionals in the area knew already,” … Jesse Choper said.

Veterans of marriage fight savor victory

Melissa Murray quoted in The Recorder (registration required), June 26, 2015

Murray said the opinion’s “hyper-veneration of marriage” was especially odd to her since two of the justices joining the majority—Sotomayor and Elena Kagan—are not married. “Let me just say, that I’m thrilled that the result of this opinion is marriage equality. But I might be the only person in San Francisco muted in her enthusiasm,” Murray said. “It’s a very conservative opinion. Radical in outcome, I guess. But marriage is not radical.”

Gang affiliation questions subject to Miranda warnings, state high court rules

Charles Weisselberg interviewed for Daily Journal (registration required), June 26, 2015

“The Court is on very solid ground in ruling that questions about gang affiliation amount to ‘interrogation’ within the meaning of Miranda.”

U.S. Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage

Jesse Choper quoted in San Jose Mercury News, June 26, 2015

Jesse Choper said the ruling represents “the end of the legal battle … You cannot treat same-sex couples any differently than opposite-sex couples. Period.”

Supreme Court same sex marriage ruling could impact California law

Jesse Choper interviewed by NBC Bay Area, June 24, 2015

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of gay marriage bans, Choper says it will be up to California itself to decide what is and is not state law. … “My guess is they’ll say … [Proposition 8] is the law of California, and there will be no gay marriage in California unless you change—you the people of the state or the state legislature—change the law,” Choper said.

Local community members fight for right to exempt children from vaccinations

Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Daily Californian, June 23, 2015

According to Stephen Sugarman … the bill is constitutional at the state level because the government has “sweeping powers” where public health is concerned and is therefore able to control the conditions under which children attend school.

Maneuvers and Dutch defenses may complicate Mylan-Teva takeover war

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, June 23, 2015

Hostile takeover wars are unnerving for companies and investors alike in any industry. But the multi-front war involving the generic drug makers Teva Pharmaceutical Industries and Mylan is even more daunting.

California may finally overturn the humiliating law that deprives women of financial aid

Jill Adams quoted in Fusion, June 19, 2015

But Jill Adams, director of the Berkeley Center, says the campaign has never had this much momentum, and will force the hand of Gov. Jerry Brown, who stripped out funds for a repeal from the state’s budget earlier this year. “You can’t hide,” she said. “You’re going to have a bill on your desk.”

Company that built collapsed Berkeley balcony has faced multiple legal battles

Mark Gergen cited in The Daily Californian, June 18, 2015

UC Berkeley School of Law professor Mark Gergen also said that there is an enormous number of construction litigation claims, although he said the central focus of future investigations will likely concern the degree to which the company is responsible for taking precautions against damages.

GOP strategist Christie: Tax revenues rose after Bush tax cuts in 2001 and 2003

Alan Auerbach interviewed by, June 17, 2015

Reasonable people can use different years as a starting  point for comparison. Bush didn’t take office until early 2001 and the tax cuts didn’t take full effect until the start of 2002. Plus, economist Alan Auerbach … reminded us that there was a recession between March 2001 and November 2001. “The effects of the recession on revenue are likely to swamp any effects of tax policy,” Auerbach said.

Why the California ruling on Uber should frighten the sharing economy

David Rosenfeld quoted, June 17, 2015

“This is big, high stakes problem for them,” Rosenfeld says. While Uber emphasizes that the labor commission ruling is only about the status of a single driver, he notes that if Uber beats Berwick in court that doesn’t bar other drivers from bringing similar claims.

Experts say balcony collapse that killed 6 likely due to dry rot

Mark Gergen cited in The Daily Californian, June 17, 2015

According to UC Berkeley School of Law professor Mark Gergen, the city will likely revisit its housing code as a result of the balcony collapse. There may be new ordinances or other provisions passed in order to prevent further incidents. Gergen said the victims’ families could have grounds for multiple lawsuits.

In return to Twitter, Jack Dorsey aims to follow path of Steve Jobs

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, June 16, 2015

It may be that Mr. Dorsey is the right person for the chief executive post at Twitter. But let’s hope that it is based on his real skills, and not the myth that if Jobs did the impossible with Apple, then any founder of any tech company can replicate that success.