Monday, June 19, 2006

Independent Energy Producers Ass'n v. McPherson (Cal. Supreme Ct. - June 19, 2006)

I like this. It's a nice intermediate solution to an alleged problem.

The California Supreme Court has, in recent years, increasingly been slammed (by some) for issuing overly long opinions. In response, the Court has, to a fair degree, cut down on length. This case is no exception to the contemporary trend, and the unanimous opinion here is 32 double-spaced pages. Not too long, though not perfunctory either.

But what the Court also does -- in part, perhaps, to make the opinon more readable, or even skippable -- is to start the opinion with a four-page summary of the contentions and arguments at issue in the appeal, as well as the Court's conclusion. So, basically, if you're intrigued, great; read on. If not, you've only done four pages of reading, and you're essentially hip as to what the Court decided and why.

Sort of a Cliffs Notes version of the opinion embedded in the opinion itself. And, since I'm incredibly lazy, I like that. Sure, I read the rest of the opinion as well, even in an only-marginally-interesting case like this. But I'm probably the exception rather than the rule. I bet a lot of people read the "Executive Summary" and move on. Which is fine. Better than reading nothing, eh?

P.S. - The actual case itself is about the validity of a pre-election challenge to a proposition (Proposition 80) that didn't pass anyway. The actual case is moot, but the Court -- rightly, in my mind -- decides to adjudicate the issue in order to assist future (similar) preelection challenges. And -- again, in my mind -- gets the case right on the merits.

So good job all around, as to both style as well as substance.