There's a lot of work to be done in the Supreme Court of the United States.
President Donald Trump nominated federal appeals court Judge Neil Gorsuch as Supreme Court Justice Tuesday, nearly a full year after Justice Antonin Scalia's death left a void in the court.
While the process of selecting a Supreme Court Justice is grueling, that's only the beginning. If appointed, justices in the highest court have hundreds of cases to review.
As of January 2017, there are 74 civil cases and 62 criminal cases pending in California, according to the Judicial Branch of California.
Here are some of the cases waiting in the system:
1. Regents of University of California v. Superior Court (Los Angeles County Superior Court). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal granted a petition for peremptory writ of mandate, which is a court order to a government agency or lower court to perform an act the court finds an official duty as required by the law. This case presents the following issue: Do California public institutions of higher education and their employees have a duty of care to their students while in the classroom to warn them of and protect them from foreseeable acts of violence by fellow students?
2. Vasilenko v. Grace Family Church (Sacramento County Superior Court). The Carmichael church is seeking petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in a civil action. This case presents the following issue: Does one who owns, possesses, or controls premises next to a public street have a duty to a guest to provide safe passage across that public street if the owner directs its guests to park in its overflow parking lot across the street? The street in question is Marconi Avenue. A man sued the church after being hit by a car while crossing the street from the overflow parking lot.
3. Central Coast Forest Assn. v. Fish & Game Com. (Sacramento County Superior Court). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed the judgment in an action for writ of administrative mandate, which is a legal action where the court reviews administrative proceedings to ensure that the agency proceeded with the law under a fair trial and that the agency’s decision is supported by the evidence and findings. The court limited review to the following issues: (1) Under the California Endangered Species Act, Fish and Game Code section 2050, which covers general provisions, may the Fish and Game Commission consider a petition to de-list a species on the ground that the original listing was in error? (2) If so, does the petition at issue contain enough information to warrant the Commission’s further consideration?
1. People v. Lopez (Yolo County Superior Court). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal reversed an order of dismissal of a criminal proceeding. This case presents the following issue: Does Arizona v. Gant permit a peace officer to search the interior of a suspect’s vehicle for identification if the suspect fails to provide it upon request? Gant holds police may search the passenger compartment of a vehicle after an occupant's arrest only if the person is close enough to reach the vehicle or if it's reasonable to believe the vehicle contains evidence related to crime the occupant is under arrest for. A Woodland Police officer searched a woman's vehicle after she refused to provide a driver's license and found cocaine in the passenger compartment. The court granted the woman's motion to suppress drug evidence under Gant. The Court of Appeal reversed the criminal dismissal and now the reverse order is pending review in the Supreme Court.
2. People v. Arredondo (Santa Clara County Superior Court). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal affirmed a judgment of conviction of criminal offenses. The court limited review to the following issues: (1) Did law enforcement violate the Fourth Amendment by taking a warrantless blood sample from defendant while he was unconscious, or was the search and seizure valid because defendant expressly consented to chemical testing when he applied for a driver’s license or because defendant was “deemed to have given his consent” under California’s implied consent law? (2) Did the People forfeit their claim that defendant expressly consented? (3) If the warrantless blood sample was unreasonable, does the good faith exception apply because law enforcement reasonably relied on the state's implied consent law in securing the sample? A man pleaded no contest to drunk driving after the trial court denied his motion to suppress the results of a blood alcohol test. The Santa Clara County Superior Court denied the man's motion on the basis the officer was acting on good faith in relying on the implied consent law to withdraw blood without a warrant.
3. People v. Superior Court (Smith) (Orange County Superior Court). Petition for review after the Court of Appeal granted a petition for peremptory writ of mandate. The court limited review to the following issues: (1) Is an expert retained by the prosecution in a proceeding under the Sexually Violent Predator Act entitled to review otherwise confidential treatment information under Welfare and Institutions Case section 5328? (2) Is the district attorney entitled to review medical and psychological treatment records or is access limited to confidential treatment information contained in an updated mental evaluation conducted under Welfare and Institutions Code section 6603, subdivision (c)(1)?