petition for review

Summary of Major Events in Decision-Making Process of California Supreme Court


No. Event By When Comments


Petition for review granted.

At least four of seven justices.

At weekly Wednesday conference.



Case assigned for preparation of calendar memo.

Chief Justice

At weekly conference when review granted.

Assigned to judge who voted to grant review unless other factors used for case assignment dictate another judge be assigned.


When calendar memo finalized by assigned judge, it is then circulated among justices for consideration.

Calendar Coordinator.

Some time after briefing completed by the parties (briefing may take four months to one year).

Petitioner must file Opening Brief on the Merits within 30 days of granting of petition (or appointment of counsel, whichever is later) unless granted an extension of time; respondent files its Responding Brief on the Merits within 30 days of the filing of Petitioner's Opening Brief unless granted and extension of time; Petitioner may file a Reply Brief on the Merits within 20 days after the Respondent's Brief is filed; the court may permit Amicus Curiae to file briefing within 30 days of the last brief filed.


Each justice states his/her "preliminary response" to calendar memo and forwards it to Calendar Coordinator for distribution.

Individual Justices' chambers.

When comments are ready for review by other justices.

The justices' comments will indicate if changes will be requested or a dissenting or concurring opinion will be written by that judge.


Each justice's comments distributed to other justices.

Calendar Coordinator.

When comments are ready for distribution.

Calendar Coordinator maintains the originals of all documents filed, record of proceedings below, etc. (the "box").


"Pre-argument" conference set.

Chief Justice.

When at least a majority of the justices have tentatively concurred in a proposed disposition.

If a majority of justices indicate that they will dissent from the original calendar memo, unless the original author agrees to change his or her view, the Chief Justice sets the matter for a later date for further discussion at a future pre-argument conference OR assigns one of the dissenting justices to draft the opinion and the circulation process begins anew.


Oral argument scheduled.

Chief Justice.

When majority of justices at "pre-argument" conference agree matter is ready to be heard.



Post-argument conference.

All Justices.

Immediately after day of oral argument.

Tentative vote on case taken.


Assign Opinion Writing.

Chief Justice.

During post- argument conference.

If original calendar memo author's views are favored by a majority, that justice usually writes opinion; if contrary to majority, one of justices comprising the majority will be assigned to write opinion.


Majority opinion circulated among justices.

Calendar Coordinator.

As soon as possible after matter is submitted to the court.

Submission is usually at the time or oral argument; the court must decide the case within 90 days unless exceptional circumstances arise, e.g., U.S. Supreme Court grants review of identical or similar federal issue.


Each justice signs, deletes signature or "OK" signature to changes OR concurring or dissenting opinion is circulated.

Calendar Coordinator maintains originals of all opinions, majority, concurring and dissenting.

Within 90 days of submission.



Notice of Forthcoming Filing sent to Calendar Coordinator.

Chief Justice.

When opinion ready for issuance.



Notice of Forthcoming Filing posted.

Clerk's Office.

Day before opinion to be filed.

Opinions filed twice per week on Monday and Thursday at 10 a.m.


Decision final.


30 days after filed, unless rehearing granted.



Decision published.

Reporter of Decisions.

After opinion is final.