ACBA to President and Senate – Fill the Supreme Court Vacancy

The Alameda County Bar Association Joins Bar Associations Around California and California State Bar President, David Pasternak to Call on President Obama and Senate to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

OAKLAND, CA – Today, the Alameda County Bar Association (ACBA) joined bar associations from across the state of California to send a letter to President Barack Obama and Senate leaders urging them to heed their constitutional duty to fill the vacancy on the Supreme Court. The bar associations, representing tens of thousands of lawyers throughout the state, called on the president to quickly nominate a qualified candidate to the Supreme Court, and for the Senate to consider that nominee without delay. In addition to the ACBA, the signatories to the letter include the Los Angeles County Bar Association, the Lake County Bar Association, and other state and local bar associations.

Commenting on the decision to join forces with other bar associations in this effort, ACBA President Stephanie Sato stated, “As my colleagues and I fulfill our duty to fight for justice for our clients, we ask that the President and the Senate fulfill their constitutional duties. Justice cannot prevail if our nation’s highest court is compromised by politics.”

With the issuance of this letter, bar associations representing the two most populous cities in the United States, New York and Los Angeles, have now called on the Senate to consider a nominee to the Supreme Court without delay. The California letter comes on the heels of similar calls by the New York State and New York City Bars  respectfully requesting the Senate to reconsider its refusal to consider a nominee put forward by the president. Constitutional law scholars at universities around the country have also weighed in via a joint statement, pointing out that the Constitution “has no exception for election years.”

Open Letter to the President and Senate

Open Letter to the President and Senate
From California Bar Associations Regarding
Filling the Vacancy on the Supreme Court of the United States


March 8, 2016
The President
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
Washington, D.C.  20500
The Honorable Mitch McConnell
United States Senate
Majority Leader
317 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510
The Honorable Harry Reid
United States Senate
Minority Leader
522 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510
The Honorable Chuck Grassley
United States Senate
Chair, Committee on the Judiciary
135 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510
The Honorable Patrick Leahy
United States Senate
Ranking Member, Committee on the Judiciary
437 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C.  20510

Dear Mr. President, Senator McConnell, Senator Reid, Senator Grassley, and Senator Leahy:

We write on behalf of numerous California bar associations and as bar leaders who have taken an oath to defend the Constitution.  We call on President Obama to act with deliberate speed to nominate an exceptionally qualified person to the Supreme Court.  We also urge the Senate to fulfill its constitutional duty to advise and consent, so that our highest Court may continue to perform its critical function at the apex of our third branch of government.
Article II of the Constitution requires the President, “with the advice and consent of the Senate,” to appoint judges to the Supreme Court.  Through this section, the framers placed in the hands of the executive and legislative branches of our government a duty to ensure that the third pillar of our democracy, our courts, would be protected from entanglement in partisan politics.  We trust that you will fulfill this duty.
While careful evaluation and reasoned debate regarding the qualifications of the nominee are central to the Senate’s role to advise and consent, it would undermine the rule of law and risk nullifying the Supreme Court’s power to serve its constitutional role as arbiter of disputes, were the confirmation process to be delayed until a new president is inaugurated.  Were such a path to be followed, the Court would be forced to sit for two terms, and over a year, with a vacancy.  The implications of this course of action would be significant, subjecting people in different regions of the country to different legal standards on matters of constitutional importance and leaving open the specter of an unresolved constitutional crisis.  The rule of law requires an ultimate arbiter.  The Constitution has placed the Supreme Court in that role.
We ask that you carry out your constitutionally prescribed roles with full fealty to the oaths you have taken so that our Supreme Court is returned to its full membership.
Alameda County Bar Association
Los Angeles County Bar Association
Lake County Bar Association
Yolo County Bar Association
Asian Americans Advancing Justice – Asian Law Caucus
Asian American Prosecutors Association
Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Los Angeles County
Bay Area Lawyers for Individual Freedom – BALIF
California Employment Lawyers Association
Charles Houston Bar Association
East Bay La Raza Lawyers Association
Filipino Bar Association of Northern California
Korean American Bar Association of Northern California
Korean American Bar Association of Southern California
Marin County Women Lawyers
Mexican American Bar Association
Queen’s Bench Bar Association of the San Francisco Bay Area
Women Lawyers of Alameda County
David Pasternak, President, California State Bar *
cc:        United States Senators
*Title for identification only. Signed in personal capacity and not official capacity.



Prepared by Pelayo A. Llamas, Jr.

Pelayo Llamas is a senior deputy with the Oakland City Attorney’s office and an ACBA Board member. He is a 2015-2017 At Large Member of the Judiciary Council’s statewide Bench Bar Coalition (BBC) Executive Committee. The BBC is composed of judges and leaders of local and statewide bar associations and legal services organizations, is designed to enhance communication, perform legislative outreach, and coordinate the activities of the judicial community with the state. He has generously prepared a short summary of some of the most important pieces of legislation that were passed in 2015.

For the full list, and a handy reference sheet, please check out the summaries prepared by the Judicial Councilat:



AB 39 (Medina) – Requires affiant to sign and submit affidavit before undergoing telephone oral examination by a magistrate to obtain a search warrant.

SB 178 (Leno) – Electronic Communications Act – Search warrant required before investigators can access and examine mobile phones and other electronic data.

AB 1156 (Brown) – Makes numerous technical and clarifying changes to the 2011 Realignment Act including resentencing powers and felony DUI prosecutions while incarcerated.

AB 1328 (Weber) – Authorizes courts to disqualify individual prosecutors and requires reporting to the State Bar, upon finding a prosecutor intentionally withheld material exculpatory evidence.

SB 674 (De León) – Requires certifying agencies, entities, or officials, such as judges, on request of an immigrant victim of crime, to certify victim helpfulness on the applicable form so that the victim may apply for a U visa to temporarily live and work in the United States.

AB 555 (Alejo) – Mandates the use of Expedited Jury Trials for most limited civil actions.

AB 1141 (Chau) – Modifies recoverable expert witness costs under CCP 998. Reinstates the ability to seek partial summary adjudication under CCP 437c. Limits court’s duty to rule on evidentiary objections.

SB 383 (Wieckowski) – Requires that attorneys meet and confer before filing demurrers.

SB 641 (Wieckowski) – Revisions to California Fair Debt Buying Practices Act regarding the set-aside of default judgments. *this one is not summarized in my matrix

AB 1081 (Quirk) – Amends restraining order statutes to extend temporary orders upon continuance of a hearing date.

SB 594 (Wieckowski) – Sets new minimum requirements for child custody evaluation, investigation, or assessment, and any resulting report.

AB 703 (Bloom) – Sets minimum qualifications for counsel to be appointed in delinquency proceedings.

AB 900 (Levine) – Establishes a new form of guardianship for persons 18-21 years old who may qualify for Special Immigrant Juvenile status.

Job Openings

UC Office of the General Counsel  (OGC) (Litigation) – Paralegal: The OGC’s services include prosecuting and defending litigation, drafting and negotiating agreements, providing advice, counsel and interpretation of laws, regulations and policies, and assisting with development of effective compliance and risk mitigation strategies to facilitate the University’s complex operations. The OGC seeks an experienced paralegal with litigation experience to provide support to the litigation legal practice group. Learn More

California Attorney General’s Civil Rights Division – DAG III: The Civil Rights Enforcement Section investigates and litigates civil rights matters to enforce state and federal civil rights laws in California, and engages in appellate work in both state and federal court. Learn More

The Bay Area Air Quality Management District – Assistant Counsel I/II: The District is recruiting for the position of an entry level Assistant Counsel I/II in the Legal Office. This is a full-time, exempt, management position. Under direction, the position performs legal work of a routine to complex nature representing the District, provides advice and counsel to District management and staff, and represents the Air District in court and administrative proceedings; performs related work as assigned. Learn More

Oakland City Attorney’s Office – Neighborhood Law Corps Attorney: The Office of the Oakland City Attorney is seeking a highly qualified, innovative and community-oriented attorney who is interested in public service work for the position of Neighborhood Law Corps Attorney. Learn more

Superior Court of California, County of Alameda – Managing Attorney: The Superior Court of California, County of Alameda is accepting applications for the position of Managing Attorney. Under general direction, theManaging Attorney manages court-wide programs providing services to self-represented litigants across multiple case types, including family law, small claims, and unlawful detainer; manages court-wide programs that provide dispute resolution services to parties, with an emphasis on self-represented litigants; manages the deployment and effective utilization of the court’s JusticeCorps student members; provides services mandated by Family Code sections 10000-10012; supervises staff and community volunteers in multiple locations; and performs other related duties as assigned. Learn More

Counsel On Call – INSURANCE DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Counsel On Call seeks an insurance defense attorney to assist a corporate legal department in the Walnut Creek area. This is a full-time contract position available for at least four months. Travel is required, and the candidate may be asked to work on-site at the client’s office. Learn More

Public Comment Opportunities from the State Bar

Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct:  Deadline for written comment is September 27, 2016.  Detailed information is available on the State Bar’s website at

Proposed Amendments to State Bar Rules re New Attorney MCLE Requirement– Deadline  Sept. 9, 2016:  Attorneys would be required to complete a New Attorney Training MCLE program during their first year post-admission. The curriculum would be developed by the State Bar, and would be no more than ten hours in length in total. These ten hours would not be in addition to the currently required MCLE hours for active members of the State Bar. Instead, up to ten of those currently required hours would comprise New Attorney Training, and this training would be prescribed for completion within the first 12 months of admission to the California State Bar.  Details and documents.

Proposed Amendment to Rule 2302 of the Rules of Procedure of the State Bar of California-Deadline Sept. 8, 2016:  Revision of the rule is suggested to eliminate certain references to non-members in subsections (d)(1)(A), (d)(1)(B),(d)(1)(C) and (d)(4), and to add language that clarifies that the State Bar has no duty of confidentiality with respect to complaints or investigations related to non-members, but may assert confidentiality when necessary to protect members of the public. Complete information may be found here.

Public Hearing Notice from the State Bar

The State Bar of California’s Commission for the Revision of the Rules of Professional Conduct will hold a public hearing to receive testimony on the proposed new or amended Rules of Professional Conduct of the State Bar of California which are currently circulating for public comment. The public comment period ends on September 27, 2016. The Rules are approved by the Supreme Court, the violation of which will subject an attorney to discipline (see Bus. & Prof. Code, § 6076, § 6077). The Commission has been assigned to evaluate the existing California Rules in light of developments in the attorney professional responsibility field since the last comprehensive revision of the rules occurred in 1989.
The Commission’s public hearing panel members will be present at both locations in San Francisco and Los Angeles.  For those who cannot appear at either location, a teleconference option can be accessed by calling: 1-855-520-7605, and entering the conference code: 253-541-0212#.
The deadline for advance hearing registration is Wednesday, July 20, 2016 at 5:00 pm.  Advance registration is recommended but not required. A printable version of the registration form is also available and may be submitted via email or fax.