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Sturgeon v La Pet Review 02042011

Sturgeon v La Pet Review 02042011

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THE SUPREME COURT THE STATE CALIFORNIA 
HAROLD STURGEON, Plaintiff and Appellant, 
COUNTY LOS ANGELES, al., Defendants and Respondents, 
and 

SUPERIOR COURT CALIFORNIA, 
COUNTY LOS ANGELES, 
Intervenor and Respondent. 

After Decision the Court Appeal 
Fourth Appellate District, Division One 
Case No. D056266 

PETITION FOR REVIEW 
Sterling Norris (SBN 040993) 
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 
2540 Huntington Drive, Suite 201 
San Marino, 91108-2601 
Tel: (626) 287-4540 
Fax: (626)237-2003 

Counsel for Plaintiff and Appellant Harold Sturgeon 
TABLE CONTENTS 
TABLE AUTHORITIES 

ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW 
SUMMARY GROUNDS FOR GRANTING REVIEW 
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND ... 
ARGUMENT .......................................... 	THE COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILL VALID DELEGATION THE LEGISLATURE'S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY PRESCRIBE THE COMPENSATION STATE TRIAL COURT JUDGES 	THIS COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILL VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION 	THIS COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILL VIOLATES ARTICLE IV, SECTION 3(b) THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION. 
CONCLUSION 
CERTIFICATE COMPLIANCE 

TABLE AUTHORITIES 
Cases 
Kugler Yocum, Cal.2d 371 (1968) 

Martin Riley, Cal.2d (1942) 
People Curry, 130 Cal. (1900) 
Serano Priest, Cal.3d 728 (1976) 
Sturgeon County Los Angeles, 

191 Cal. App. 4th 344 (2010) passim ... 
Sturgeon County Los Angeles, 167 Cal. App. 4th 630 (2008) ..... passim
......... 

Constitutional Provisions 
.............................

Cal. Const. art. IV,  3(b) 22, 

Cal. Const. art. VI,  12, 

Statutes 
Code Civ. Proc.  526a 
Gov't Code 68220(a) ............................. 14, 
Gov't Code  68220(b) ats. 2009, ch.  l(a) 

Stats. 2009, ch.  2(a) 
Stats. 2009, ch.  2(b) 
Stats. 2009, ch.  
Stats. 2009, ch.  
Other Authorities 
County ofLos Angeles 2010-11 Proposed Budget, 
Vol.I (available http://file.lacounty.gov/ 
lac/cms1_114813.pdf) 17, 
Judicial Council California, "Historical Analysis 
Disparities Judicial Benefits," Report the 
Senate Committee Budget and Fiscal Review, 
the Assembly Committee Budget, and the 
Senate Assembly Committees Judiciary, 
December 19, 2009 ..... ............... ........ passim 

ISSUES PRESENTED FOR REVIEW 
Whether Senate Bill valid delegation the Legislature's constitutional duty prescribe the compensation state trial court judges. Whether Senate Bill violates equal protection. 
Whether Senate Bill violates article IV, section 3(b) the California Constitution. 

SUMMARY GROUNDS FOR GRANTING REVIEW 
The Supreme Court California should review this case settle three important questions law. First, this Court should decide whether Senate Bill proper delegation the Legislature's constitutional duty prescribe the compensation the State's trial court judges, required article IV, section the California Constitution. Senate Bill provides standards nor makes any fundamental policy choice about trial court judges' compensation. Instead, the Judicial Council California ("the Judicial Council") found, purports authorize "hodgepodge," "patchwork quilt" inconsistent and fundamentally unequal judicial benefits that the result the individual history each court and 
county rather than any rational consistent statewide plan 
formula. allows judges sitting the County Los Angeles receive nearly $50,000 supplemental benefits while trial court judges sitting other counties receive supplemental benefits 

all. Not only Senate Bill not proper delegation the Legislature's constitutional duty prescribe the compensation 
trial court judges, but, because judicial compensation integral 
the administration justice, this Court must address this vital issue. 
Second, this Court should decide whether Senate Bill comports with equal protection. There neither rational basis for nor compelling state interest differentiating between state trial court judges based whether the county court which they happen sit was paying supplemental benefits 2008, when supplemental benefits paid the County Los Angeles were declared unconstitutional. Indeed, supplemental benefits are necessary retain well qualified judicial officials, then there rational compelling reason why counties courts that were not providing such benefits 2008 should prohibited from doing now, which exactly what Senate Bill does. 
Third, because the increasing frequency "extraordinary" 

sessions called the Governor, important that this Court address the law governing such sessions. Article VI, section the California Constitution limits the Legislature, when sitting "extraordinary session," considering only matters relating to, germane to, and having natural connection with, the issues specified the proclamation calling the extraordinary session. Because Senate Bill was outside the matters specified the Governor's proclamation the Governor calling the extraordinary session question, Senate Bill unconstitutional. 
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND April 24, 2006, Harold Sturgeon filed this action for declaratory and injunctive relief against the County Los Angeles and various county officials (collectively "Los Angeles County"). Clerk's Transcript Harold Sturgeon County Los Angeles, al.,, Case No. D056266 Vol. pg. 000011-18 (hereinafter"_ _"). Sturgeon, taxpayer and resident Los Angeles County, seeks enjoin Los Angeles County from paying supplemental benefits the judges the Superior Court for the State California, 
County Los Angeles ("the Superior Court") pursuant Code Civil 

Procedure  526a. Id. Sturgeon contended that Los Angeles County's payment supplemental benefits the judges the Superior Court contravened article VI, section the California 
Constitution, among other relevant provisions law. Id. about September 2006, Los Angeles County filed motion for summary judgment or, the alternative, for summary adjudication, which Sturgeon opposed. 000006-7. The trial court heard oral arguments and, January 2007, granted Los Angeles County's motion for summary judgment. 000009. Sturgeon filed timely appeal. 000006. 
The Court Appeal reversed. Sturgeon County Los Angeles, 167 Cal. App. 4th 630 (2008) ("Sturgeon I"). found that, January 2007, the Legislature had set the salaries superior court judges $172,000 and that the additional, supplemental benefits paid Los Angeles County raised that compensation $46,346, approximately percent, $218,346 for Fiscal Year 2007: sum, addition the salary, benefits and retirement prescribed the Legislature, fiscal year 2007 each superior court judge Los Angeles was eligible receive $46,346 benefits from the county. This amount represented approximately percent their prescribed salary and cost the county approximately $21 million fiscal 2007. 
Sturgeon 167 Cal. App. 4th 635-36. also found that, because 
this additional compensation had not been prescribed the 
Legislature, violated article VI, section the California 
Constitution. Id. 644, 657. declared Los Angeles County's 
payment supplemental benefits unconstitutional and 
remanded the matter the trial court for further proceedings. Id. 
657. 
Los Angeles County petitioned the Court Appeal for rehearing, but its petition was denied. Sturgeon supra. then petitioned this Court review the Court Appeal's decision, but its petition for review was denied well. Id. February 2009, the Legislature, sitting extraordinary session, enacted Senate Bill "to address the decision the Court Appeal Sturgeon County Los Angeles regarding county-provided benefits for judges." Stats. 2009, ch.  l(a) 
(citation omitted). Importantly, the extraordinary session had been called proclamation the Governor, issued December 2008, "[t]o consider and act upon legislation address the economy, including but not limited efforts stimulate California's economy, create and retain jobs, and streamline the operations state and local government." 000073 and 000184; 000427 and 000452. Nowhere did the Governor's proclamation make any reference judicial benefits, judicial compensation, the Court Appeal's ruling Sturgeon Id. 
Nonetheless, the Legislature enacted Senate Bill 11, which provides, pertinent part, follows: Judges court whose judges received supplemental judicial benefits provided the county court, both, July 2008, shall continue receive supplemental benefits from the county court then paying the benefits the same terms and conditions were 
effect that date. Stats. 2009, ch.  2(a); Gov't Code 68220(a). The new legislation also included the following grant immunity: 
Notwithstanding any other law, governmental entity, officer employee governmental entity, shall incur any liability subject prosecution disciplinary action because benefits provided 
judge under the official action governmental entity 
prior the effective date this act the ground that 
those benefits were not authorized under law. 
Stats. 2009, ch.  Finally, the new legislation directed the Judicial Council "analyze statewide benefits inconsistencies" and report the Senate Committee Budget and Fiscal Review, the Assembly Committee Budget, and both the Senate and Assembly 
Committees Judiciary before December 31, 2009. Stats. 2009, ch.  
Most unusually, March 13, 2009, after the matter was remanded the trial court, the trial court authorized the Superior Court intervene defendant, purportedly protect the judges' interest continuing receive the county-provided supplemental benefits. 000004 and 000009; see also Reporter's Transcript Harold Sturgeon County Los Angeles, al., Case No. D056266 (hereinafter "RT") 1-67. about April 21, 2009, Sturgeon, Los Angeles County, and the Superior Court filed motions for summary judgment, all which were opposed. See, e.g., 000002-4; 000046 000498. Argument was heard July 2009. 
000008; 68-105. July 27, 2009, the trial court granted summary judgment favor Los Angeles County and the Superior Court. 1CT 000008; 000499-516. Final judgment was entered about August 21, 2009. 000002; 000517-39. Sturgeon again filed timely appeal. 000002; 000540-52. 
While Sturgeon's appeal was pending, the Judicial Council issued the report required Senate Bill 11. See Judicial Council California, "Historical Analysis Disparities Judicial Benefits," 
Report the Senate Committee Budget and Fiscal Review, the 
Assembly Committee Budget, and the Senate and Assembly 
Committees Judiciary, December 19, 2009 ("Judicial Council 
Report"). its report, the Judicial Council described the status 
judicial benefits after the enactment Senate Bill follows: 
[T]oday's system supplemental benefits hodgepodge. Judges some courts receive supplemental benefits. Judges other courts can receive supplemental benefits package worth significant percentage their salaries and which often tied to, comparable to, the executive benefits package provided officers and employees the county ... The current status judicial benefits much like the situation with judicial salaries decades ago, before the 
Legislature provided for uniformity and state funding. was the past with judicial salaries, the current 
disparity judicial benefits results from long history shared responsibility between the state and the 
counties for funding the judicial branch California. 
Id. The Judicial Council found that "[t]he scope and scale 
benefits received vary widely" and "[t]he cost supplemental benefits, 
where they are provided, also varies widely." Id. 17; see also id. 

19. According the report, "Judges some courts receive benefits that cost little $102 per year per judge, while judges the Superior Court Los Angeles receive benefits approximately $50,000." Id. 17. described the payment judicial benefits California "more like patchwork quilt, with different history each court." Id. 13. This variance, the Judicial Council noted, "is the result the individual history each court and county and not based any rational consistent statewide plan formula." Id. 
According the Judicial Council, "The inconsistencies and deficiencies the benefits packages offered judges the State California have impact the state's ability attract and retain high-quality judges, who are necessary maintain fair and impartial judicial branch." Id. 20. The Judicial Council also found that the 
payment supplemental judicial benefits disrupts the Legislature's 
own efforts set judicial compensation: 
The variation supplemental benefits and their 
nonexistence many courts, including appellate courts, 
results other significant compensation differences. 
way example, the Legislature has specified uniform 
salary for all superior court judges statewide and salary 
for justices the Courts Appeal that higher for judges the superior courts. Yet the full value the 
supplemental benefits included the overall 
compensation paid judges, there are counties which 
superior court judges receive more valuable compensation 
packages than justice the Court Appeal who serves 
the same county. 
Id. 17. The report declared, "Judicial benefits need the same kind 
reform that the Legislature brought judicial salaries ... the 
Legislature can bring judicial benefits the same stability, uniformity, 
and processes that has already brought judicial salaries and 
doing will help maintain strong, fair and impartial judicial branch." 
Id. With respect Senate Bill particular, the Judicial 
Council found that the enactment "was not intended global 
solution; simply preserves the status quo for indefinite period 
time." Id. 12-13. December 28, 2010, the Court Appeal affirmed the trial 

court's ruling. Sturgeon County Los Angeles, 191 Cal. App. 4th 344 (2010) ("Sturgeon II"). Despite the compelling findings the Judicial Council that Senate Bill was nothing but stop-gap measure that preserved "hodgepodge," "patchwork quilt" supplemental benefits not based any rational consistent plan, but instead resulted from "the individual history each court and county," the Court Appeal found that the statute sufficiently "prescribed" the county-provided benefits challenged Sturgeon, least for the present. Id. 352-54. concluding its opinion, the Court Appeal effectively conceded that Senate Bill resolved nothing, including the issue whether the payment supplemental benefits consti onal: 
[O]n its face, Senate Bill not permanent response either the constitutional issues identified Sturgeon the difficult problem adopting compensation scheme that deals with varying economic circumstances equitable and efficient manner. Thus, would remiss discharging our duties did not state that while the Legislature's interim response Sturgeon defeats the particular challenges asserted Sturgeon this litigation, that interim remedy, not supplanted the more comprehensive response Senate Bill plainly contemplates, most likely will give rise further challenges taxpayers members the bench themselves. noted the outset, the issue judicial compensation state, not county, responsibility. are confident that the Legislature within reasonable period time will act adopt uniform statewide system compensation. 
Sturgeon II, 191 Cal. App. 4th 355-56 (emphasis original). petition for rehearing was filed the Court Appeal. 
Because extremely unlikely that the Legislature will ever enact comprehensive, statewide reform without action this Court -nearly two years have already passed since Senate Bill was enacted and effort has been made --Sturgeon petitions for review. 
ARGUMENT 	THE COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILLX211 VALID DELEGATION THE LEGISLATURE'S CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY PRESCRIBE THE COMPENSATION STATE TRIAL COURT JUDGES. 
Article VI, Section the California Constitution states, pertinent part: "The Legislature shall prescribe compensation for judges courts record." Cal. Const., art. VI,  19. The provision quite 
plainly commits the Legislature both the power and the duty set 

judicial compensation. Sturgeon's knowledge, this Court has never issued opinion directly applying Article VI, Section 19. Nonetheless, this Court previously declined review the Court Appeal's opinion Sturgeon which applied Article VI, Section 19. Sturgeon relied heavily this Court's opinion Kugler Yocum, Cal.2d 371 (1968), which concerned the delegation legislative functions generally. Kugler, this Court noted that "the doctrine prohibiting delegation legislative power ... well established California." Cal.2d The Court also noted that "several equally well established principles ... serve limit the scope the doctrine proscribing delegations legislative power." Id. 375-76. "For example, legislative power may properly delegated channeled sufficient standard." Id. 376. "The Legislature may, after declaring policy and fixing primary standard, confer upon executive administrative officers the 'power fill the details' prescribing administrative rules promote the purposes the legislation and carry into effect." Id. 
"[T]he purpose the doctrine that legislative power cannot 

delegated assure that 'truly fundamental issues [will] resolved the Legislature' and that 'grant authority [is] ... accompanied safeguards adequate prevent its abuse." Id. (citations omitted). "This doctrine rests upon the premise that the legislative body must itself effectively resolve the truly fundamental issues." Id. "It cannot escape responsibility explicitly delegating that function others failing establish effective mechanism assure the proper implementation its policy decision." Id. 6-77. Sturgeon the Court Appeal found these principles directly relevant Los Angeles County's payment nearly $50,000 supplemental benefits the judges the Superior Court. Sturgeon 
167 Cal. App. 4th 652-57. Sturgeon II, ignored them. Sturgeon 
II, 191 Cal. App. 4th 352-355. any fair measure, Senate Bill does not constitute "standard" all, much less "truly fundamental" policy choice. Again, the operative provision states: 
Judges court whose judges received supplemental judicial benefits provided the county court, both, July 2008, shall continue receive supplemental 
benefits from the county court then paying the benefits the same terms and conditions were effect that date. 
Stats. 2009, ch.  2(a); Gov't Code 68220(a). Rather than constituting standard fundamental policy choice, Senate Bill merely authorizes the continuation "significant compensation differences," that are "not based any rational consistent statewide plan formula," but are based the historical choice each individual county court. Judicial Council Report and 17. 
Instead providing standard making fundamental policy choice, Senate Bill merely authorizes the pre-Sturgeon status quo. purports give effect the different policy choices each the fifty-eight counties trial courts the State. does not authorize any county court not currently providing supplemental benefits begin doing so, should conclude that such benefits are necessary attract retain well-qualified judges. Quite simply, tells Los Angeles County and other counties and courts currently providing supplemental benefits "continue doing what you were doing." Thus, judges the Superior Court continue receive supplemental benefits worth nearly $50,000 year, while trial court judges other counties and courts 
receive nothing. defaulting the unique history each the fifty
eight counties and trial courts across the State, the Legislature has not established any standard made any truly fundamental policy choice, but instead has abdicated its constitutional duty "prescribe" the compensation the state trial court judges California. 
Nor does Senate Bill contain meaningful safeguards ensure that standard fundamental policy choice the Legislature being followed. The lack any meaningful safeguards particularly apparent with respect Los Angeles County. Because Senate Bill purportedly authorizes counties and courts currently providing supplemental judicial benefits continue "on the same terms and conditions" were effect July 2008, necessary consider the "terms and conditions" under which such benefits were being provided determine whether the newly enacted provision provides any meaningful safeguards. July 2008, was the policy choice Los Angeles County allow the judges the Superior Court participate the same "MegaFlex" cafeteria benefits program and the same retirement plans that Los Angeles County makes available its employees. 
Sturgeon 167 Cal. App. 4th 635-36. Thus, the only "terms and conditions" that apply the provision supplemental benefits the judges the Superior Court that the judges must treated they were employees Los Angeles County. Id. 
This "safeguard" does not constitute any meaningful "safeguard" all. Los Angeles County can generous stingy wants with respect its employees, and whatever policy choices makes with respect those employees will apply the judges the Superior Court well. Again, the only term and condition effect July 2008 was that Los Angeles County treat the judges the Superior Court they were Los Angeles County's own employees. Los Angeles County decides increase the benefits provides its employees, those increases will apply the judges the Superior Court well.1 decides decrease the benefits provides its 

Los Angeles County clearly has not frozen the benefits pays the judges the Superior Court their 2008 level. According its proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2010-11, Los Angeles County has proposed spending $17,622,000.00 "cafeteria plan benefits" for "Trial Court Operations," which would appear reflect the "MegaFlex" component the supplemental benefits issue. See 

figure represents increase approximately $3,000,000 over Los 
employees, those decreases will apply the judges well. The only 
limitation that, Los Angeles County chooses terminate supplemental benefits for the judges the Superior Court completely, may 180 days notice only and only the end each individual judge's present term when individual judge leaves office. Stats. 2009, ch.  2(b Gov't Code  68220(b This purported limitation does not "safeguard" any standard fundamental policy choice the Legislature, not only because does not reflect standard fundamental policy choice the Legislature, but because leaves the County Los Angeles with substantial ability affect the total compensation package received judges the Superior Court without any oversight the Legislature. 
The non-delegation doctrine does not allow the Legislature vest such unbridled authority Los Angeles County. The Legislature either must set judicial compensation itself, must make fundamental policy choice, delegate responsibility for carrying out that choice, and provide safeguards ensure that its fundamental choice 
Angeles County's "Trial Court Operations" spending for these same benefits Fiscal Year 2008-09. Id. 

being executed. enacting Senate Bill 11, measure that 

indefinitely maintains the untenable status quo, did neither. 
Nor does suffice assert, the Court Appeal did Sturgeon II, that Senate Bill only "interim response" the constitutional issues identified Sturgeon Sturgeon II, 191 Cal. App. 4th 355. Having been enacted February 2009, Senate Bill already nearly two years old. extremely unlikely that the Legislature will correct this untenable state affairs unless this Court acts. The Court should grant review address this issue substantial, not vital, importance the maintenance "strong, fair and impartial judicial branch." Judicial Council Report 	THIS COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILL VIOLATES EQUAL PROTECTION. 
There can dispute that Senate Bill establishes and perpetuates classifications state trial court judges --all whom are state officials employed the state otherwise identical capacities -based whether the county court which they happen sit was paying supplemental benefits the time the Court Appeal declared 
Los Angeles County's payment supplemental benefits 

unconstitutional Sturgeon the Judicial Council found, this differential treatment "is the result the individual history each court and county and not based any rational consistent statewide plan." Judicial Council Report The obvious question, then, whether Senate Bill violates equal protection. The Court Appeal answered this question the negative Sturgeon II: "We consider the disparity under the rational basis test and have difficulty finding such basis the Legislature's express recognition that payment the benefits various counties and courts needed retain qualified judicial officers." Sturgeon II, 191 Cal. App. 4th 355. 
Regardless whether this differential treatment analyzed under "rational basis" "strict scrutiny" test, the Court Appeal's opinion erroneous. The Court Appeal's ruling fails explain 
Sturgeon does not concede that only "rational basis" test appropriate. Serano Priest, Cal.3d 728 (1976), this Court used "strict scrutiny" test analyze disparities financing between public school districts, finding that the disparities implicated fundamental right education. The right seek justice and have meaningful access the courts less fundamental than the right education. Moreover, disparities compensation paid trial court judges and the concurrent impact such disparities have the administration justice have less impact the right seek 
why, supplemental judicial benefits are necessary "retain qualified 

judicial officers," Senate Bill did not authorize counties and courts not providing such benefits July 2008 begin doing thereafter. would appear because Senate Bill not based the rational compelling need any particular county court retain qualified judicial officers, but instead based the unique history each county court, and, more specifically, the fact that the Court Appeal previously found that the supplemental benefits provided Los Angeles County were unconstitutional. 
There simply rational reason, much less compelling reason, for the Legislature have differentiated between trial court judges different counties courts based whether the county court which the trial judges sit was paying unlawful benefits the time Sturgeon Nor does the fact that some trial court judges, primarily those Los Angeles County, may have relied these unlawful benefits justify prohibiting trial court judges other high cost areas from receiving lawful benefits. The Court should grant review 
justice and have meaningful access the courts than disparities public school financing have the right education. 
settle this important question whether Senate Bill violates 
equal protection. 	THIS COURT SHOULD GRANT REVIEW SETTLE THE IMPORTANT QUESTION WHETHER SENATE BILL VIOLATES ARTICLE IV, SECTION 3(b) THE CALIFORNIA CONSTITUTION. 
"Extraordinary Sessions" have become increasingly frequent the California Legislature. the decade since the 2001-2002 legislative calendar, less than twenty-one extraordinary sessions have been held. Eight extraordinary sessions were held during the 2009-10 legislative calendar alone. One extraordinary session already has been called for the 2011-2012 legislative calendar, which only began December 2010. 
Article VI, section the California Constitution states: extraordinary occasions the Governor proclamation may cause the Legislature assemble special sessions. When assembled has the power legislate only subjects specified the proclamation but may provide for 
expenses and other matters incidental the session. Cal. Const. art. IV,  3(b What supposed extraordinary has become ordinary way doing business for the government the 
State California. Consequently, all the more important that the 

constitutional limitations governing such sessions observed. 
There appears very few court rulings applying article IV, section 3(b however. The last time this Court addressed the provision was nearly seventy years ago Martin Riley, Cal.2d 28, 1942). "The duty the Legislature special session confine itself the subject matter the call course mandatory." Martin, Cal.2d 39. The Legislature "has power legislate any subject not specified the proclamation." Id.; see also People Curry, 130 Cal. 82, (1900). only may consider matters "relating to, germane and having natural connection with" the subject the proclamation. Martin, Cal. 39. Any other matters are invalid, although they should not declared unless they "manifestly and clearly" are not embraced the Governor's call. Id. 40. 
Senate Bill was the product extraordinary session. The Legislature's express intent "address the decision the Court Appeal [Sturgeon regarding county-provided benefits for judges," however, way relates to, germane to, has natural connection with legislation that "address[ es] the economy," much less "efforts 
stimulate California's economy, create and retain jobs streamline the 

operations state and local government." Stats. 2009,  l(a); 000073. find otherwise, the Court Appeal did, renders article IV, section 3(b) virtually meaningless. The Court should take this opportunity address the important question whether Senate Bill violates article IV, section 3(b question that made all the more important because the increasingly frequent use extraordinary sessions the Legislature. 
CONCLUSION 
For the compelling reasons set forth above, Sturgeon respectfully requests that this Court grant review the Court Appeal's December 28, 2010 ruling. 
Dated: February 2011 JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 

Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant Counsel: 
Paul Orfanedes 
Jam Peterson 
JUDICIAL WATCH, INC. 
425 Third Street, S.W., Suite 800 

Washington, 20024 

Tel: (202) 646-5172 

Fax: (202) 646-5199 

CERTIFICATION COMPLIANCE 
Pursuant Rule 8.204(c)(l) the California Rules Court, hereby certify that this brief, including footnotes, proportionally spaced, has typeface points more, and contains 5,713 words, which less than the 8,400 words permitted this rule. Counsel relies the word count the computer program used prepare the brief. 
Dated: February 2011 
Attorneys for Plaintiff-Appellant 

Filed 12/28/10 
CERTIFIED FOR PUBLICATION 
COURT APPEAL, FOURTH APPELLATE DISTRICT 
DIVISION ONE 
STATE CALIFORNIA 

HAROLD STURGEON,  D056266  
Plaintiff and Appellant,  (Super. Ct. No. BC351286)  
COUNTY LOS ANGELES al.,  
Defendants and Respondents,  
SUPERIOR COURT CALIFORNIA,  
COUNTY LOS ANGELES,  
Intervenor and Respondent.  

APPEAL from judgment the Superior Court Los Angeles County, James Richman, Judge. Affirmed. 
Sterling Norris, Judicial Watch, Inc., for Plaintiff and Appellant. 
Jones Day, Elwood Lui, Brian Hershman and Erica Reilley for Defendants and Respondents. 
Gibson, Dunn Crutcher, Theodore Boutrous, Jr., and Kahn Scolnick, for Intervenor and Respondent. 
This the second time this case has reached appeal. our first opinion, Sturgeon County Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630 (Sturgeon I), reaffirmed the principle that judicial compensation state, not county, responsibility. found that providing substantial employment benefits its superior court judges, defendant County Los Angeles (the county) violated article VI, section our Constitution, which requires that compensation for judges prescribed the Legislature. Thus reversed order granting the county's motion for summary judgment plaintiff Harold Sturgeon's claim payment the employment benefits was unlawful. 
Shortly after filed our opinion Sturgeon and while the Legislature was special session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation which addressed the constitutional defect identified Sturgeon particular, the legislation required that all counties continue provide sitting judges with whatever benefits the counties had provided July 2008. The Legislature permitted the counties terminate this obligation, but not with respect sitting judges and only after giving the Administrative Office the Courts and any affected judges 180 days' notice. remand Sturgeon asserted the legislation was invalid three grounds. argued the legislation was outside the scope the Governor's proclamation calling the special session, did not adequately prescribe benefits judges are provided, and 
any event violated equal protection principles continuing statewide system unequal judicial benefits. The trial court rejected these contentions and granted the county's motion for summary judgment. 
The legislation Sturgeon challenges, enacted, implemented interim response the constitutional issues addressed Sturgeon shall explain, the legislation fell within the scope the Governor's proclamation, adequately prescribed the benefits that must provided judges and did not intrude upon any judge's right equal protection the laws. Accordingly, affirm. 
FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Sturgeon 
Sturgeon commenced these proceedings April 2006 filing taxpayer lawsuit against the county under the provisions Code Civil Procedure section 526a. Sturgeon's lawsuit challenged the county's annual payment employment benefits judges sitting the county beyond the salary prescribed the Legislature and addition employment benefits, including health care, disability insurance and life insurance provided the judges the state. fiscal 2007 each judge Los Angeles was eligible receive $46,436 benefits from the county, which amounted approximately percent their prescribed salary and cost the county approximately $21 million. Among other claims, Sturgeon alleged the benefit payments violated article VI, section the California Constitution, which pertinent part requires that the Legislature "prescribe compensation for judges record." The trial court granted the county's motion for summary judgment, finding merit Sturgeon's claims under 
article VI, section 19. Sturgeon also claimed the benefits were barred the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act 1997 (Lockyer-Isenberg) (Gov. Code, 77200 seq.; Stats. 1997, ch. 850,  46) were unlawful gifts public funds and amounted unlawful waste public funds. The trial court rejected those claims well. appeal agreed with Sturgeon's article VI, section contention and 
reversed the order granting summary judgment. (Sturgeon supra, 167 Cal.App.4th 657.)1 held the benefits the county provided were compensation within the meaning the Constitution and had not been prescribed the Legislature. (Ibid.) noted however that while the requirement the Constitution that the Legislature prescribe judicial compensation was important, was not onerous and required only that the Legislature "consider the specific issue and, minimum, establish reference identifiable standards" which benefits would provided judges. (Ibid.) Senate Bill 
Our opinion Sturgeon was filed October 10, 2008, and modified November 2008.2 December 2008, the Governor issued proclamation calling the Legislature into special session. The proclamation convened the Legislature pertinent part: "To consider and act upon legislation address the economy, including but not limited efforts stimulate California's economy, create and retain jobs, and streamline the operations state and local governments." During the special session, the agreed with the trial court that the benefits were not barred Lockyer-Isenberg and were neither gift nor waste public funds. (Sturgeon supra, 167 Cal.App.4th pp. 637-642.) 
The Supreme Court denied review Sturgeon December 23, 2008. 
Legislature passed Senate Bill No. (2009-2010 Ex. Sess.) (Senate Bill 11), which the Governor signed February 20, 2009. Senate Bill became effective May 21, 2009. 
Section Senate Bill states: "(a) the intent the Legislature address the decision the Court Appeal Sturgeon County Los Angeles (2008) 167 Cal.App.4th 630, regarding county-provided benefits for judges. 
"(b) These county-provided benefits were considered the Legislature enacting the Lockyer-Isenberg Trial Court Funding Act 1997, which counties could receive reduction the county's maintenance effort obligations counties elected provide benefits pursuant paragraph (1) subdivision Section 77201 the Government Code for trial court judges that county. Numerous counties and courts established local court supplemental benefits retain qualified applicants for judicial office, and trial court judges relied upon the existence these longstanding supplemental benefits provided the counties the court." 
Section Senate Bill added section 68220 the Government Code. Section 68220 provides: "(a) Judges court whose judges received supplemental judicial benefits provided the county court, both, July 2008, shall continue receive supplemental benefits from the county court then paying the benefits the same terms and conditions were effect that date. 
"(b) county may terminate its obligation provide benefits under this section upon providing the Administrative Director the Courts and the impacted judges with 
180 days' written notice. The termination shall not effective any judge during his her current term while that judge continues serve judge that court or, the election the county, when that judge leaves office. The county also authorized 
elect provide benefits for all judges the county. 
Section Senate Bill required that the Judicial Council analyze and report the Legislature statewide benefits inconsistencies before December 31, 2009. Proceedings Remand remand and following the Legislature's enactment Senate Bill 11, the county again moved for summary judgment, arguing the Legislature had remedied the deficiency identified Sturgeon Sturgeon opposed the county's motion and moved for summary judgment himself. have noted, Sturgeon argued Senate Bill was beyond the scope the Governor's special session proclamation, did not adequately prescribe the benefits the county provided, and did not provide equal benefits which Sturgeon argued was required the equal protection provisions the state and federal Constitutions. The trial court granted the county's motion, denied Sturgeon's and entered judgment favor the county. Sturgeon filed timely notice appeal. 
Section Senate Bill added Government Code section 68221, which provides pertinent part that for purposes Government Code sections 68220 and 68222: "(a) 'Benefits' and 'benefit' shall include federally regulated benefits, described Section 71627, and deferred compensation plan benefits, such 401(k) and 457 plans, described Section 71628, and may also include professional development allowances." 
DISCUSSION review novo the trial court's order granting summary judgment. (Guz Bechtel National, Inc. (2000) Cal.4th 317, 334.) particular, questions statutory construction are questions oflaw and also subject novo review. (Barner Leeds 
(2000) Cal.4th 676, 683.) 
Article IV, section 3(b the California Constitution states pertinent part: "On extraordinary occasions the Governor proclamation may cause the Legislature assemble special session. When assembled has the power legislate only subjects specified the proclamation .... Martin Riley 942) Cal.2d 28,
41, the court considered the nature this limitation legislative power during special session. Martin Riley arose when, result the attack Pearl Harbor, the United States entered World War and the Governor promptly called special session the Legislature to, among other matters 'consider and act upon legislation augmenting the appropriation for the operation, maintenance and organization the State Guard ... and amending sections 321, 395, and 555 the Military and Veterans Code, with respect the pay, privileges, allowances, and rights for the State Guard.' (Id. 38.) During the special session, the Legislature passed and the Governor signed legislation which, addition the specific matters set forth the Governor's proclamation, 
accomplished major reorganization the State Guard and gave the Governor the power call guard members into active service. (Id. 31.) Martin Riley members the guard challenged the validity the reorganization legislation the grounds the legislation exceeded the scope the Governor's proclamation. rejecting their challenge, the court stated: "[W]hen the governor has submitted subject the Legislature, the designation that subject opens for legislative consideration matters relating to, germane and having natural 
connection with the subject proper. [Citation.] Any matter restriction limitation becomes advisory recommendatory only and not binding the Legislature." (Martin Riley, supra, Cal.2d 39, italics added.) broadly interpreting the Legislature's powers during special session, the court relied Texas case interpreting similar constitutional provision. that case, Baldwin State (1886) Tex. App. 591, although the Governor called the Legislature into session reduce both valorem and 
occupation taxes, bill which imposed taxes occupations not previously taxed, was 
approved. finding that the new taxes were within the call, the court found: 'To legislate reduce the taxes, and the same time provide for the support efficient
state government, our opinion, includes the power levy taxes upon property and occupations not taxed before. might wholly impracticable accomplish 
reduction taxes and the same time maintain the state government, without the exercise such power. Legislative power, except where the constitution has 
imposed limits upon it, practically absolute; and where limitations upon are imposed 
they are strictly construed, and are not given effect against the general 
power the legislature, unless such limitations clearly inhibit the act question.'" (Id. 39.) Thus Martin Riley the court found that "when the Legislature acting under special call, undertakes 'to consider subjects and pass laws response thereto, and such laws receive the approval the executive, courts are and should right reluctant hold such action not embraced such call, and will not declare unless the subject manifestly and clearly not embraced therein.'" (Id. pp. 39-40.) discussing the petitioners' specific objection, the court noted that the reorganization the guard accomplished the challenged legislation could considered pertinent the" 'pay, privileges, allowances and rights for the State Guard,'" specifically set forth the Governor's call. Importantly, however, the court went further and found that even the changes made the legislation were not pertinent the specific matters set forth the call "we are again brought the realization that the call had submitted the Legislature the subject matter these sections and when submitted the Legislature could not circumscribed the enactment any appropriate legislation within that field." (Martin Riley, supra, Cal.2d pp. 40-41.) 
Here, have noted, the Governor called special session to, among other matters, address the economy and "streamline the operations state and local governments." Thus, under Martin Riley the Governor's call opened the subject the operations state and local governments. (Martin Riley, supra, Cal.2d pp. 40-41.) Whether the legislation fact streamlined those operations not concern us: the Governor's proclamation gave the Legislature the power legislate the area state and local government operations. (Ibid.) Our opinion Sturgeon plainly 
disturbed the existing relationship between the county and the judges sitting the county's superior courts and terms required legislative action the disputed benefits were continue. responding our opinion, the Legislature plainly dealt with the operations both state and local government requiring that local governments continue provide judges with the benefits pending the report the Judicial Council with respect statewide inequity the payment those benefits. The legislation, because manifestly dealt with the operations superior courts, their relationship with the county governments where they are located and the Legislature's duty prescribe judicial compensation, was squarely within the area state and local government 
operations and hence within the scope the Governor's proclamation. 
III 
Contrary Sturgeon's contention, Senate Bill 11, although interim solution, satisfied the requirement article VI, section the California Constitution that the Legislature prescribe the compensation judges. found Sturgeon even when the Legislature bears nondelegable duty, may nonetheless permit other bodies take action based general principle established the Legislature long "the Legislature provides standards safeguards which assure that the Legislature's fundamental policy effectively carried out." (Sturgeon supra, 167 Cal.App.4th 653.) Kugler Yocum (1968) Cal.2d 371, 377-382, the court approved proposed ordinance which set the salary firefighters the City Alhambra reference the average pay firefighters the City Los Angeles. Although the ordinance did not set any explicit standards which 
salaries were set, the court nonetheless found the ordinance contained sufficient safeguards ensure that the fundamental policy parity would not exploited the detriment the city: "The proposed Alhambra ordinance contains built-in and automatic protections that serve safeguards against exploitive consequences from the operation the proposed ordinance. Los Angeles more anxious pay its firemen exorbitant compensation than Alhambra. Los Angeles employer will motivated avoid the incun-ence excessive wage scale; the interplay competitive economic forces and bargaining power will tend settle the wages realistic level. noted analogous area involving the establishment prices: 'the Legislature could reasonably assume that competition ... coupled with ... bargaining power ... would provide safeguard against excessive prices. all probability, that safeguard least effective any which the Legislature could expected provide promulgating explicit standards .... [Citation.]" (Kugler Yocum, supra, Cal.2d 382.) 
The court reached similar conclusion Martin County Contra Costa (1970) Cal.App.3d 856 where statute which set the salary municipal court attaches Contra Costa County the same rate comparable county employees. "This provision not abdication the Legislature's duty prescribe the compensation the attaches each municipal court. fixes the compensation the employees, declares policy that such compensation shall commensurate with that furnished county employees with equivalent responsibilities and provides for interim changes, subject review the Legislature, the event there are local changes which would 
otherwise cause discrepancies compensation violation the legislative policy." (Id. 862.) have noted, Senate Bill requires that counties continue pay sitting judges the benefits judges each respective county were receiving July 2008, for the balance any judge's term office. those payments, the counties have discretion. Thus, sitting judges, benefit payments for the balance their terms are clearly now "prescribed" under even the strictest interpretation the term. 
Admittedly, under Senate Bill counties are given the option terminating benefits judges who were not sitting when Senate Bill was passed and terminating benefits for sitting judges when the terms they were serving when the legislation was adopted expire. However, this discretion terminate benefits subject important and substantial safeguards which assure that the Legislature's fundamental decision continue the benefits not disturbed the absence legislative oversight. First, the face Senate Bill itself makes clear the Legislature intended recognize that benefits were paid means attracting qualified judicial officers and that judges have reasonable and legitimate expectation the benefits previously paid each county court will part their compensation. (See Sen. Bill 11,  l(c).) Moreover, the Legislature, requiring report from the Judicial Council with respect inconsistencies the payment benefits, also expressed its intent that, far practical, benefits should provided judges equitable basis. (Sen. Bill 11,  6.) Finally, any county which terminates benefits must provide judges affected and the Administrative Director the Courts 180 days' notice. (Gov. Code,  68220, subd. (b).) 

This lengthy notice period provides the Legislature ample time which review and abrogate any termination benefits believes inappropriate. sum, the Legislature has plainly articulated its desire that judges continue receiving benefits from counties and courts and that the benefits paid equitable basis. Moreover, way the notice requirement imposed, the Legislature has established powerful procedural safeguard the event any county court acts manner inconsistent with the broad policies the Legislature has articulated. setting broad policies and establishing safeguard which will prevent any deviation from those policies, the Legislature has fully satisfied the requirements the Constitution. (See Kugler Yocum, supra, Cal.2d pp. 381-382; Martin Contra Costa, supra, Cal.App.3d pp. 863-864.) 
Finally, Sturgeon argues Senate Bill invalid because does nothing immediately address the disparity judicial benefits paid various counties throughout the state. Because Senate Bill interim measure, awaiting further legislative action, find this argument unpersuasive. will assume without deciding that taxpayer Sturgeon has standing assert his equal protection argument under Code Civil Procedure section 526a. (See Connerly State Personnel Bd. (2001) Cal.App.4th 16, 29.) However, contrary Sturgeon's contention, the disparity judicial compensation not subject strict scrutiny. Unlike the discrimination based wealth which was subject strict scrutiny Serrano Priest (1976) Cal.3d 728, 765-766, here discrimination based the geographic location judges not suspect classification. Moreover, the right 
employment judge not fundamental right (see Rittenband Cory (1984) 159 Cal.App.3d 410, 418-419) and there fundamental right certain level compensation. (See American Federation Teachers Los Angeles Community College Dist. (1980) 111 Cal.App.3d 942, 945, fn. Thus consider the disparity under the rational basis test and have difficulty finding such basis the Legislature's express recognition that payment the benefits various counties and courts needed retain qualified judicial officers. (See Sturgeon supra, 167 Cal.App.4th 639.) 
CONCLUSION the parties have recognized, SBX 211 both preserved the status quo ante Sturgeon and commenced process which the Legislature looks adoption comprehensive judicial compensation scheme. have explained, this response Sturgeon meets the requirements the Constitution and wholly sensible under the circumstances. The Legislature uniquely competent deal with the complex policy problem establishing judicial compensation scheme which both assures recruitment and retention fully qualified judicial officers throughout the state while the same time providing equity between judges different parts the state. the same token our role ensuring that the more general requirements the Constitution have been met is, under our system separate governmental powers, quite limited. (See Community Redevelopment Agency Abrams (1975) Cal.3d 813, 831-832.) Thus, whatever permanent remedy the Legislature eventually adopts will entitled the wellestablished "judicial deference the legislative branch." (Ibid.) 
However, its face SBX 211 not permanent response either the constitutional issues identified Sturgeon the difficult problem adopting compensation scheme that deals with varying economic circumstances equitable and efficient manner. Thus, would remiss discharging our duties did not state that while the Legislature's interim response Sturgeon defeats the particular challenges asserted Sturgeon this litigation, that interim remedy, not supplanted the more comprehensive response SBX 211 plainly contemplates, most likely will give rise further challenges taxpayers members the bench themselves. noted the outset, the issue judicial compensation state, not county, responsibility. are confident that the Legislature within reasonable period time will act adopt uniform statewide system judicial compensation. 
Judgment affirmed. 
BENKE, Acting CONCUR: 
NARES, 
HALLER, 
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