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Library Legal News

President Biden Forms the Presidential Commission on the Supreme Court of the United States

Posted Apr 21, 2021

President Biden has created, through Executive Order, a 36-member bipartisan commission to study and analyze Supreme Court reform. The Commission is co-chaired by Professor Bob Bauer of New York University School of Law and a former White House Counsel, and Professor Cristina Rodriguez of Yale Law School and former Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel at the U.S. Department of Justice. According to a White House press release, the Commission will examine the topics of “the genesis of the reform debate; the Court’s role in the Constitutional system; the length of service and turnover of justices on the Court; the membership and size of the Court; and the Court’s case selection, rules, and practices”. The Commission will also hold public meetings to hear the views of experts and interested individuals and the Executive Order requires the Commission complete its report within 180 days of its first public meeting. See New York TimesBloomberg Law.

California Supreme Court Requires Consideration of Ability to Pay when Setting Bail

Posted Apr 21, 2021

On March 25, 2021, the California Supreme Court ruled  that judges must consider an individual’s ability to pay when setting bail, and that a person may not be detained only because they cannot post bail. In addition, judges may detain an individual only if there is no other restrictive way to protect public safety. The decision came down amidst a national debate over the constitutionality of cash bail and its impact on those who cannot afford it. See Los Angeles TimesCourthouse News, Bloomberg Law

The California Judicial Council Reports on Self-Help Centers During the Pandemic

Posted Apr 21, 2021

Self-Help Centers in California courts have remained accessible during the last year despite shutdowns and have continued to expand services since Fiscal Year 2018-2019. A recent Judicial Council report to the Legislature analyzed the impact of self-help centers and critical legal services for Californians. Even with Governor Newsom’s emergency authority and many courts shutting down, 33 centers were able to stay open or offer modified services within one week of the shutdown and by June 2020 all courts offered modified services. These services have remained accessible due in large part to the $19.1 million allocated to the Self-Help Centers in the Budget Act of 2018 and advancements in remote technology made prior to March 2020. The report also shows that even at the current levels of funding, the public expressed a need for additional staffing, bilingual services, extended hours, and shorter wait times for appointments and services. See California Courts Newsroom.