California Supreme Court

The California Supreme Court’s Top Environmental Law Decisions of 2016

CEQA, Property Rights, Preemption & Clean Water Act Highlight Supreme Court’s Environmental Docket

While 2016 was a quiet year for the U.S. Supreme Court when it came to environmental law, the same cannot be said for the California Supreme Court.  To the contrary, 2016 continued a pronounced and significant trend by the California Supreme Court justices in recent years to hear and decide numerous important environmental law issues …

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The Clean Water Act, Federalism, Big Money and the California Supreme Court

Ill-considered Supreme Court Decision Threatens California’s Administration of Clean Water Act Permit Program

The California Supreme Court recently issued a little-noticed decision on a seemingly arcane state public finance issue that could well wind up having a dramatic, negative effect on California’s continued ability to administer the federal Clean Water Act’s permit program in the Golden State. The case is Department of Finance v. Commission on State Mandates.  In …

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California Supreme Court Holds Unanimously that the State May Restrict Mining Methods on Federal Lands

Court in People v. Rinehart Upholds State Moratorium on Suction-Dredge Mining

Last year, as I discussed in a prior post, the California Supreme Court granted the State of California’s petition for review in the case of People v. Rinehart.  I’m pleased to say that today, the Supreme Court has issued a unanimous opinion, authored by Justice Werdegar, in favor of the state’s moratorium on suction-dredge mining on federal lands. …

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San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Ordinance Dodges Supreme Court Bullet

Justices Deny Review of California Supreme Court Decision Upholding San Jose Measure

Advocates of the City of San Jose’s controversial inclusionary housing ordinance, which was upheld in a 2015 California Supreme Court decision, are breathing a sigh of relief this week.  That’s because the U.S. Supreme Court has denied the California Building Industry Association’s petition for certiorari in the case.  But the available evidence suggests that the High Court …

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California Supreme Court Hands Air District, Environmentalists Qualified Win

Justices’ Unanimous Opinion Addresses Key “Scope of CEQA” Issue

In a closely-watched case, the California Supreme Court today issued a unanimous decision on the scope of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), California’s most important and heavily-litigated environmental statute.  That decision is unlikely to fully satisfy either side in the litigation, though over the long-term it would seem to favor local regulators and their …

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California Supreme Court Continues to Expand Its Environmental Docket

Justices Considering Unprecedented Number & Variety of Environmental Law Issues

At the beginning of 2015, I posted on this site an analysis of the California Supreme Court’s environmental law docket.  My conclusion was that California’s highest court was showing unprecedented interest in environmental law–as demonstrated by the fact that it then had pending nine cases arising under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and 20 …

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CA Supreme Court Rejects California State University’s CEQA Dodge–Again

Justices Hold CSU Can’t Pass the Buck re: Environmental Mitigation Measures Tied to Campus Expansion

In an important decision issued last week, the California Supreme Court forcefully rejected the California State University’s efforts to avoid paying for mitigation measures needed to offset the adverse environmental impacts associated with CSU’s ambitious expansion plans.  That’s welcome if predictable news from a court that has in recent years been protective of the state’s bedrock …

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California Supreme Court Upholds Affordable Housing Ordinance

Unanimous Court Rejects Developers’ Takings Challenge to San Jose’s Inclusionary Housing Measure

The California Supreme Court, in a unanimous decision issued today, rejected state developers’ efforts to nullify the City of San Jose’s affordable housing ordinance.  That decision, California Building Industry Association v. City of San Jose, is critically important for both state land use policy and for constitutional principles governing private property rights and the proper scope …

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California Supreme Court to Decide Major CEQA, Climate Change Case

Justices’ Latest Grant of Review Continues Supreme Court’s Focus on Environmental Law

To paraphrase former President Ronald Reagan, there they go again. The California Supreme Court on Wednesday granted review in an important case at the intersection of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and one of the state’s most important climate change laws.  The case, Cleveland National Forest Foundation v. San Diego Association of Governments, is the …

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The California Supreme Court’s Unprecedented Focus on Environmental Law

California’s Highest Court Has Far More Environmental Cases Pending Than Ever Before in Its History

The California Supreme Court, perhaps the most influential state supreme court in the nation, has of late become unusually and intensely focused on environmental law.  More than ever before in its history, the California Supreme Court currently has before it a large docket of environmental cases that, individually and collectively, promise to alter the legal …

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