The State Worker

Chronicling civil-service life for California state workers

April 27, 2010
Do gubernatorial appointments foreshadow furlough rulings?

So how much do politics play a role in the decisions that judges render in trial court furlough lawsuits?

Of the 15 furlough lawsuit decisions rendered by six Superior Court judges so far, Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has won nine, and unions and other dissenting entities have won six. Here's a chart of the rulings split up by party affiliation of the governor who appointed the judge:


Sided with Schwarzenegger

Sided with

union/ other party

Judges appointed by a Republican governor





Judges appointed by a Democrat governor





Total lower court decisions






Fairness alert: Any judge would say that he or she rules on the basis of the law, not personal political leanings or the party affiliation of the governor who appointed them. This blog isn't in a position to divine otherwise.

And a judge who ruled for Schwarzenegger in one case could rule against him in another because the arguments made in the second case might be completely different. Indeed, Judge Charlotte Woolard, a Pete Wilson appointee to the bench in 1995, did just that by siding with Schwarzenegger twice and with SEIU Local 1000 once.

You can click here to view a more detailed list of the lower court rulings, the judges and the governors who appointed them.

And our newest Furlough Fights spreadsheet, which lays out all the lawsuits, litigants and court locations, is available by clicking this link.

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About The State Worker

Jon Ortiz The Author

Jon Ortiz launched The State Worker blog and a companion column in 2008 to cover state government from the perspective of California government employees. Every day he filters the news through a single question: "What does this mean for state workers?" Join Ortiz for updates and debate on state pay, benefits, pensions, contracts and jobs. Contact him at (916) 321-1043 and at


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