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The Court and the Judicial Branch

The Court’s Jurisdiction

The state Constitution gives the Supreme Court the authority to review decisions of the state Courts of Appeal (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 12). This reviewing power enables the Supreme Court to decide important legal questions and to maintain uniformity in the law. The court selects specific issues for review, or it may decide all the issues in a case (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 12). The Constitution also directs the high court to review all cases in which a judgment of death has been pronounced by the trial court (Cal. Const., art. VI, § 11). Under state law, these cases are automatically appealed directly from the trial court to the Supreme Court (Pen. Code, § 1239(b)).

In addition, the Supreme Court reviews the recommendations of the Commission on Judicial Performance and the State Bar of California concerning the discipline of judges and attorneys for misconduct. The only other matters coming directly to the Supreme Court are appeals from decisions of the Public Utilities Commission.

  • California Courts Overview

    The Supreme Court, Courts of Appeal and Superior Courts form the core of the California Judicial Branch

    Learn about the role of the various California courts as well as the administrative and programmatic committees, initiatives and other resources that support the daily operations of the Judicial Branch of California.

  • Court History

    A timeline about the Court in California

    Explore a timeline about the founding and development of the Supreme Court of California. You may also download a brochure with extensive details on the history of the Court and how it grew in tandem with the nation’s largest state.

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