California Supreme Court’s 2015-2016 Term: Following the Lead

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Some of the most interesting decisions during the California Supreme Court’s 2015-16 term were ones where the court essentially followed the lead set by other lawmaking entities, even when that lead may have taken the court in a direction that it otherwise would not have gone by itself.

A court’s capacity to follow should not be interpreted as a sign of weakness. After all, the judicial branch is – and is supposed to be – the weakest of the three branches, in part because it lacks any true enforcement power but also because it is the least representative branch.

In a year when, most improbably, a hip-hop musical based on a founding father’s life garnered 11 Tony awards, it is appropriate to remember Alexander Hamilton’s statement in Federalist No. 78 that courts “have neither force nor will, but merely judgment.” Sometimes, the most prudent judgment is to follow along.

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California Bar Journal