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Taming the ElephantPolitics, Government, and Law in Pioneer California$
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John Burns, Vivian Louie, and Roberto Suro

Print publication date: 2003

Print ISBN-13: 9780520234116

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520234116.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CALIFORNIA SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.california.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of California Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CALSO for personal use.date: 01 August 2021

The Courts, the Legal Profession, and the Development of Law in Early California

The Courts, the Legal Profession, and the Development of Law in Early California

(p.74) 3 The Courts, the Legal Profession, and the Development of Law in Early California
Taming the Elephant

Gordon Morris Bakken

University of California Press

This chapter treats the development of the California courts and the legal system. It explores the constitutional underpinnings of California's initial judicial efforts and finds that they reflected “the popular sovereignty and Jacksonian democratic rhetoric of the times.” There was substantial judicial activity in the constitutional era that was far from amateurish and that this activity contributed materially to California's maturation as a state. The legislature, in addition to electing justices to the Supreme Court, was passing laws designed to institutionalize civic racism. The California Supreme Court in its first decade disposed of a variety of tort claims. Although the legislature and Supreme Court records on race were dismal, the development of law and the interaction of the bar and the courts, the legislators, and the people worked to establish a foundation that would enable California to emerge as a leader in private law and public policy.

Keywords:   California, Supreme Court, legal system, popular sovereignty, Jacksonian democratic rhetoric, judicial activity, legislature, private law, public policy

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