Past Programs

The California Supreme Court Historical Society is pleased to advise you of the following program, which it has agreed to co-sponsor:

Tuesday, February 7, 2023 – In-Person in San Francisco or by Webinar
5:00pm – 6:30pm

Upcoming Program: War Crimes


War Crimes: From the 1945 San Francisco U.N. Conference to Today

Do politics and diplomacy factor into our definition of war crimes? How are war crimes dealt with currently, compared to the past?


Prof. Laurel Fletcher | International Human Rights Clinic, Berkeley Law
Prof. David Cohen | Center for Human Rights and International Justice, Stanford University
Prof. Saira Mohamed | UC Berkeley School of Law

Moderator:  Ambassador (ret.) Jeff Bleich

Keynote:  Robert James, Esq.

There is no charge for this program.
MCLE Credit is available for $50

Program Flyer

This program is being co-sponsored by the Northern District of California Historical Society, the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, the San Francisco Historical Society and the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

Tuesday, January 17, 2023 – Webinar
12:00pm – 1:00pm

The California Supreme Court’s Abortion Jurisprudence

This free presentation provides a review of California’s constitutional law as it relates to issues of reproductive rights.

1 Hour MCLE Credit
(no charge)

David Ettinger

Michele Bratcher Goodwin
Brittny Mejia
Beth H. Parker

November 16, 2022
12 noon to 1 pm Webinar

Perez v. Sharp:  A California Landmark Case that Overturned a Century-Old Ban on Interracial Marriage

1 hour MCLE credit (Elimination of Bias)

In Perez v. Sharp (32 Cal. 2d 711 (1948)), the California Supreme Court found unconstitutional the state’s laws prohibiting inter-racial marriage. This program briefly sketches the history of racial discrimination in California and elsewhere, then turns its focus to how marriage illuminated a path for later, important civil rights cases.

The heart of the presentation addresses the recognition of bias and the legal theories that concern its elimination. The case also touches on marriage equality – as the issue was framed in 1947-1948. (see short articles on Perez v. Sharp and the attorney on the case, Daniel Marshall).

Program Introduction:   Justice Joshua Groban
Narrators:  Justice Teri L. Jackson and John S. Caragozian
Additional Remarks by:  Roland Brandel and Michael Traynor

The Demonization of (Im)Migrants: Dust Bowl Refugees and the Supreme Court
April 20, 2021
Zoom Presentation

Presented by the Northern District Historical Society and co-sponsored by CSCHS and the Ninth Judicial Circuit Historical Society, this program by John S. Caragozian centered on the constitutionality of the “anti-Okie” law at issue in the 1941 United States Supreme Court case, Edwards v. California.


California Supreme Court Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar (ret.)
in conversation with Journalist/Biographer Jim Newton

November 7, 2018
Los Angeles

Justice Kathryn Mickle Werdegar served as a member of the California Supreme Court for 23 years, during which time she distinguished herself as a thoughtful and independent jurist. Justice Werdegar authored some of the court’s most significant opinions in the areas of criminal law, environmental law, labor law, antitrust law, and civil liberties, as well as several notable dissents, some later endorsed by the United States Supreme Court. Justice Werdegar retired from the court on August 31, 2017.

Program Flyer

Constitutional Governance and Judicial Power
November 15, 2016
San Francisco

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and former Chief Justice Ronald M. George on the California Supreme Court Historical Society’s book, Constitutional Governance and Judicial Power: The History of the California Supreme Court. This program was held in memory of former Chief Justice Malcolm M. Lucas (1927-2016).

Thirty Years After a Hundred Year Flood: Judicial Elections and the Administration of Justice [PDF]
October 2, 2016
California State Bar Meeting
San Diego

This program discusses the California Constitution’s system for electing justices and judges, and how the elections can influence the administration of justice. Featured speakers included UC Irvine School of Law Dean Erwin Chemerinsky and former California Supreme Court Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso.

Chief Justice David S. Terry and Federalism: A Life and Doctrine in Three Acts [PDF]
San Diego (September 12, 2014 – California State Bar Annual Meeting)
Fresno (January 30, 2014)
Los Angeles (June 25, 2013)
San Francisco (October 15, 2012)

Co-sponsored with the Northern District of California Historical Society, this unique presentation featured several state and federal judges, including California Supreme Court Justices Marvin Baxter and Kathryn Werdegar, in an investigation of federal-state relations in 19th century California.

The First Jury Trial [PDF]
October 2013

A Conversation with Abraham Lincoln [PDF]
July 13, 2013
California State Fair, Sacramento

This program commemorated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, and the 50th anniversary of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s speech, I Have a Dream . The program featured Jim Getty, Renowned Lincoln Actor and Historian.

This program was presented by the California Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, Sojourn to the Past, the California Judicial Center Library, eRepublic and the California Supreme Court Historical Society.

Can Direct Democracy Be Saved? [PDF]
October 5, 2011
Los Angeles

Clara Foltz and the Role of the Public Defender [PDF]
April 21, 2011
Los Angeles

Rebooting California: Initiatives, Conventions & Government Reform [PDF]
September 24, 2010
Los Angeles

This day-long program explored the law and policies of Constitutional Reform for California and a possible Constitutional Convention.

Civil and Uncivil Constitutional Rights in California: The Early Legal History [PDF]
Los Angeles (June 1, 2009)
San Francisco (January 22, 2009)

Report on the Perspectives on Judicial Elections: Then and Now (2007) [PDF]
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

Report on California – Laboratory of Legal Innovation (2006) [PDF]
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

Religion, the State, and the First Amendment (2005)
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

Civil Rights and Civil Liberties during Wartime (2004)
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

World War II Reparations Cases (2003)
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

Temple of Justice, Past and Future: Designing and Renovating California’s Courthouses for the 21st Century (2002)
Presented at the California State Bar Annual Meeting

Forensic History and the Role of Historians in the Courtroom


Oral Histories of California Supreme Court Justices
Completed under the direction of the Regional Oral History Office or the Institute for Governmental Studies, both at the University of California, Berkeley.

Book Project
Grant to Paul Bryan Gray to support research, writing and illustrations for the book A Clamor for Equality: Emergence and Exile of California Activist Francisco P. Ramirez (2012).

1878-1879 California Constitutional Convention Working Papers
Digitization of records produced during the convention including administrative records, minutes, resolutions, and other document types.

Justice Stanley Mosk Archival Project
Completed under the direction of the California Judicial Center Library.