CSCHS sponsors a variety of educational programs, receptions, archival projects, oral history projects and a student writing competition. Grants and gifts are available from the Society for scholarly projects and publications dealing with California legal and judicial history that advance the mission of the Society.


Current Program

The California Supreme Court Historical Society is pleased to present the following program:

Wednesday, June 21, 2023 – Webinar
12:00 PM to 1:00 PM

California Without Law: 1846 -1850

From the beginning of the Mexican War until the first California Legislature met, California was governed by an uncertain mixture of Mexican and military law. It was administered by “alcaldes” whose rulings were largely based on their instincts of justice. Many Americans considered it to be a system without law.

In addition, the Treaty of Guadelupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican War, was negotiated by an envoy whose authority had been revoked; leading to a treaty signed without authority. More “lawlessness.”

This program addresses the law in California in those early days, how a society functions without an effective government, and what that teaches about the importance of the rule of law.

Introduction by Chief Justice Patricia Guerrero
Panelists: Judge Barry Goode (ret.) and John Caragozian

There is no charge for this program.
1 hour MCLE Credit is available to California Supreme Court Historical Society members at no charge. Non-members may purchase MCLE credit for $25.00

Program Registration for Webinar and MCLE credit

Program Flyer

This program is being co-sponsored by

The California Judges Association
The California Lawyers Association
The Los Angeles County Bar Association
Loyola Law School
The Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society
The U. S. District Court for the Northern District of California Historical Society


The Bernard E. Witkin Oral History Project

Bernard E. Witkin

Bernard E. Witkin

The California Supreme Court Historical Society has launched The Bernard E. Witkin Oral History Project to interview former members of the the California judiciary and others to create an archival record of Witkin’s influence on the California Supreme Court and the California Judiciary.

The focus of the project will be to conduct research, obtain archival materials, and record oral histories relating to Witkin’s role as a special advisory member of the California Judicial Council, his influence on judicial opinion writing, judicial appointments and judicial education, and his role in the founding of the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

For further information about the project or to contribute remembrances of Bernie Witkin please contact


The CSCHS Selma Moidel Smith Law Student Writing Competition in California Legal History

An annual competition for law students and graduate students to write about California legal history including the history of the California Supreme Court.


California Supreme Court Oral History Project – University of California, Berkeley

The California Supreme Court Oral History Project carries out research interviews with retired justices to create an archival complement to the written record of California’s highest court and, by extension, the lower California courts. This project is partially funded by the California Supreme Court Historical Society.