Cali News: Tenure Laws, Unconstitutional Initiatives and More

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on March 07, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

It's been a busy few weeks in California with so much legal news to write about that we couldn't just pick one issue. Today, we take a brief look at the teacher tenure case, Propositions 9 and 89, and a new suit filed against U.C. Berkeley.

Vergara v. California

A group of students is challenging five statutes that regulate the dismissal, tenure and layoff of teachers in Vergara v. California, reports LA School Report. The plaintiffs' attorney, Theodore Boutrous argued in court that the challenged laws "put and keep grossly ineffective teachers in the classroom in front of students," reports Reuters. After the plaintiffs presented their case, defendants -- two largest teachers unions and the state of California -- moved to dismiss.

Superior Court Judge Rolf Treu denied the motion, and the defense began presenting their case on Wednesday. Whether the students or teachers unions will prevail remains to be seen. To stay updated on the case's progress visit

Props 9 and 89 Unconstitutional

Two laws resulting from successful ballot initiatives -- Propositions 9 and 89 -- were held unconstitutional because they "retrospectively increased punishments in violation of the Ex Post Facto Clause of the U.S. Constitution." Proposition 9 allowed for greater lengths of time between parole hearings, which could have the result "longer incarceration," while Proposition 89 gave the governor the ability to review and reverse parole findings of the Board of Parole Hearings, reports The Sacramento Bee. The court's ruling will not apply to "inmates whose paroles were blocked in the past," and only applies to future decisions, reports the San Francisco Chronicle.

U.C. Berkeley Sexual Assault Lawsuit

Two federal complaints were filed against U.C. Berkeley, by 31 students and alumni, because of the university's alleged "neglect and failure to act on behalf of their claims of rape and sexual assault," reports The Daily Beast. The suits come as a result of a slow-moving audit by federal legislators investigating the school's reporting of sexual assaults. A University spokeswoman stated that the school "has taken a number of steps to ensure that students are being protected," according to The Beast.

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