Tuesday, June 11, 2024

CSCHS Review (Spring/Summer 2024)

[The Spring/Summer '24 issue of the California Supreme Court Historical Society Review is now available.  Here is the editor's description of its contents.  DRE]

The upcoming presidential election and ongoing debate over who is entitled to vote and how votes should  be counted make this an appropriate time to look back at how Californians expanded the franchise since the early days of statehood. In our lead story, the first of two parts, a team of UCLA researchers explores how California systematically discriminated during its first hundred years against different groups of prospective voters, employing some of the same tools used under the Jim Crow regime of the South. Part II, which will run in our Fall / Winter ’24 issue, will focus on the post-World War II decades when the pendulum began to swing the other way and state law evolved to make voting easier and broaden voting rights, while maintaining the integrity of voting systems.

Next, Mitchell Keiter looks back at the Robins v. Pruneyard Shopping Center litigation and whether private property owners — there, a shopping mall owner — could evict high school students who were peacefully gathering signatures for a petition opposing both a U.N. resolution against Zionism and Syria’s emigration restrictions. Keiter, an appellate attorney and member of the Society’s Board of Directors, analyzes the California and U.S. Supreme Courts’ decisions in this case against historical tradition and earlier litigation between speakers who wish to express ideas and property owners who wish not to host that expression. The question lies at the core of two cases currently before the U.S. Supreme Court concerning the constitutionality of Florida and Texas laws requiring viewpoint-neutral access to privately owned social media platforms.

Elsewhere in this issue, Society Board member John Caragozian traces how litigation about California’s remote Mineral King Valley changed the U.S. environmental movement by opening the door to claims by citizen groups and individuals challenging proposed land use and development. Also, UC College of the Law, San Francisco Professor Mark Aaronson reviews Jeffrey Rosen’s The Pursuit of Happiness. The new book looks at the founding generation’s philosophical understanding of that phrase from the Declaration of Independence, which also appears in many state constitutions, including California’s. In his thoughtful essay, Aaronson sees helpful insights in Rosen’s book for thinking about a revitalized conception of happiness as a source of constitutional protections and aspirations going forward.