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tion, the court convenes on the fourth Monday of each month to consider applications for such writs as it is authorized to issue, and to hear any motions that litigants may wish to make relative to cases that have been submitted at regular sessions. All three judges must be present at every session. The balance of their time is occupied in considering cases that have been submitted and in writing decisions.

After a case has been submitted, the presiding justice either takes it under consideration and writes his opinion upon it, or assigns it for that purpose to one of the other justices. Such an opinion when signed by all three justices becomes the decision of the court. Any decision of a district court of appeal is final, as far as that court is concerned, in thirty days; but during the next period of thirty days the supreme court may consent to review it. This action on the part of the supreme court suspends the decision; but the supreme court may later confirm it, or may modify or reverse it. If the supreme court does not consent to review an appellate court decision between the thirtyfirst and sixtieth day inclusive after it is rendered, it is as if it had been rendered by the supreme court. The supreme court may take a case out of the hands of any district court of appeal before a decision is rendered and may hear the case itself, or may transfer it to another district court of appeal.

2. The Supreme Court. The state supreme court consists of one chief justice and six associate justices, elected by the state at large, each for a term of twelve years. Two lower court, together with the written arguments, or “briefs,” of attorneys, accompanied by such oral arguments as they are able to present in the time granted by the court.

1 The fourth Monday of each month is called the "regular motion day.''

associate justices are elected at every gubernatorial election, and a chief justice will be elected in 1914. Each justice receives a salary of $8000 a year. Vacancies are filled by the governor until the next election. The court appoints a clerk, a chief deputy clerk, six deputy clerks, two secretaries, two bailiffs, a librarian for the supreme court library, a reporter and an assistant reporter of the decisions of the supreme court and of the district courts of appeal, and other necessary attendants as provided by law.

The court holds regular sessions in San Francisco beginning on the second Monday in January and on the third Monday in July; in Los Angeles beginning on the first Monday in April and on the second Monday in October; and in Sacramento beginning on the first Monday in May and on the second Monday in November. At these sessions cases on appeal from the superior courts are submitted, as well as cases that have been decided in district courts of appeal and are to be reviewed by the supreme court." Special sessions are held at the same places from time to time to hear applications for writs and to consider motions affecting cases that have been submitted at regular sessions. A regular session usually lasts four or five days; and a special session, one or two. Except when holding sessions in Los Angeles and Sacramento, the justices spend most of their time in San Francisco, considering cases that have been submitted and writing decisions.

When in session, the court may sit in bank or in departments. Each department consists of three associate jus

1 The state is divided into supreme court districts known as the San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Sacramento districts. A case from a superior court may be submitted to the supreme court only when the latter is sitting in the same district; but a case from any district court of appeal may be submitted at any session of the supreme court.

tices designated by the chief justice, one of whom is chosen by the other two to act as presiding justice. The chief justice presides over the court in bank, and over either department when he is present, and apportions the work to the departments and to the court in bank. After a case has been assigned to a department, he, or any four justices, may transfer it to the court in bank before a decision has been reached.

The supreme court arrives at its decisions in the same manner as the district courts of appeal; that is, after a case is submitted at any session, it is assigned to one of the justices, who considers it between sessions and writes his opinion

upon it. The opinion is then passed to the other two justices, if the case is a “department case,” or to all the remaining justices, if it is a “bank case.” Three must concur in a department decision, and four in a decision of the court in bank. A decision of the court in bank becomes final in thirty days after it is rendered. 3 A decision of a department becomes final at once if approved by the chief justice and two associates ; 4 otherwise it becomes final in thirty days, if, during that time, the case is not ordered to be submitted to the court in bank at a subsequent session. This may be done by

1 This practically never occurs except when one of the associate justices is absent. 2 This is usually done in San Francisco.

3 This is a provision of law, not of the constitution. During the thirty days the court may reconsider the case if it so desires. No case may be appealed from the state to the national supreme court unless the question at issue involves the national Constitution, a national law, or a treaty.

4 This makes it possible for a department decision to become final sooner than a bank decision, for the latter cannot become final until thirty days after it is rendered. (Code of Civil Procedure, $ 45.) This is clearly an anomalous situation, but no confusion arises from it for the reason that the chief justice almost never signs a department decision. He has done so only two or three times in ten years.

the chief justice and two associates, or by four associates, and such an order sets aside the department decision.

3. The Jurisdiction of the Higher Courts. - The jurisdiction of the supreme court and of the district courts of appeal is stated technically in the constitution. It may be indicated in simple form as follows:


a. Appellate. The most important duty of these courts is to decide cases that are appealed from the superior courts, and by far the greater part of their time is devoted to this work. The constitution mentions certain kinds of cases which, if appealed at all from the superior courts, must go to the supreme court. The most important are: cases in equity, cases at law involving the title to real estate, or involving any claim or property equal in value to $2000, probate cases, and questions of law alone in capital criminal

Other cases, when appealed, must go to the district courts of appeal. The supreme court may transfer any case that has been appealed to it to one of the district courts of appeal; and, as previously stated, it may take any case out of the hands of any of the appellate courts before a decision is reached. It is, therefore, possible for any case to be decided on appeal by any of the higher courts. Since any decision rendered by a district court of appeal may be reviewed by the supreme court, the decisions of all these courts are likely to be harmonious and consistent.

b. Original. — The only original jurisdiction possessed by the supreme court and the district courts of appeal is their power to issue writs of mandamus, certiorari, prohibition, and habeas corpus. To issue one of these writs is an exer

i Section 4, article VI.

cise of original jurisdiction because the application for the writ is made directly to the higher court, and does not come up on appeal from the superior court. When considering such applications, these courts occasionally summon witnesses before them, - a thing which they never do when hearing cases on appeal, as all necessary facts are then ascertained from the records sent up from the superior courts.

213. The Senate as a Court of Impeachment. — The senate sits as a court of impeachment only on those rare occasions when the assembly decides to impeach some officer whom the constitution declares to be subject to impeachment. When sitting in this capacity, the forty members are to be regarded as constituting a court of forty judges, and not the senate of the state. Their oath of office as senators is not sufficient to cover this duty, and thus they are required to take a special oath when assuming the character of judges of this high court. The concurrence of two thirds of the forty is necessary for a conviction.2

This court has no jurisdiction except in these special cases of impeachment, and a conviction extends only to “ removal from office and disqualification to hold any office of honor, trust, or profit under the state”; but within this

1 See sections 17 and 18 of article IV.

2 In 1857 Henry Bates, state treasurer, was impeached and convicted, but resigned before the trial was concluded. In the same year George W. Whitman, state controller, was impeached, but was acquitted. In 1862 James W. Hardy, one of the district judges of the state, was impeached, convicted, and removed from office. See Hittell's History of California, Vol. IV, pages 199, 300, 431.

These are the only cases of impeachment that have arisen in California, although on several occasions the assembly has considered charges against certain judges without taking action. This method of removing men from office served a useful purpose in England long ago in rendering the king's ministers responsible to the representatives of the people; but it is of almost no practical value in our country. A state legislature is a political body, and has neither the time nor the temperament to exercise judicial functions properly.

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