Term Limits Strikes Again

Today is “term out” day for fifteen members of the State Assembly. Under California’s first term limits law, legislators were forbidden from serving more than three terms in the Assembly. A court decision later clarified that partial terms of less than half a term wouldn’t count as a full term, meaning that the halfway point […]

Dueling in California (A Legal History)

The delegates who met in Monterey in 1849 to draft California’s first constitution debated the need to limit dueling during the convention. Noting that the formality associated with dueling primarily made it a practice of political elites, delegate William Gwin began to push for the penalty to be (rather than a prison term), a permanent […]

Lessons from an 1870s Law Book

When the State of California was new, laws passed by the Legislature and approved by the Governor were identified only by the order in which they had been chaptered. For example, the fifth law signed by the Governor in 1850 (Chapter 5, Statutes of 1850) created the office of State Treasurer. The principal reason for using this […]