Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Deborah M. v. Superior Court (Cal. Ct. App. - April 29, 2005)

Here's a darn good opinion by Justice Nares. And I say that not (only) because Gil was a graduate of both USD ('64) and USD Law ('67), as well as selected as our Distinguished Alumnus (in '84). Rather, I say this because it really is a good opinion: a textbook example of proper statutory analysis and the correct use and application of legislative history. The trial court thought that it could order drug testing through the use of a hair follicle test, which (although the Court of Appeal doesn't mention it) is a lot harder to fake your way through than the more typical urine test. On first glance, that seems an entirely reasonable conclusion. But Justice Nares does an excellent job of parsing through the (admittedly) ambiguous statutory language to conclude that the only presently authorized form of testing is urinalysis.

He convinced me, even though I was initially skeptical. Which is precisely what a good opinion should do. A fine example of quality work.