photograph of john haggerty

John Haggerty for

California Attorney General 2014


Who Is John Haggerty?

As a California attorney since 1987, and as a citizen, John Haggerty has worked hard to: (a) advance veterans’ rights; (b) preserve our state’s death penalty as an effective and just deterrent against murderers; (c) end reverse discrimination in government employment; (d) improve California’s jury instructions; (e) limit the number of years politicians may hold office; (f) expand parental choices in education; (g) protect unborn children; and (h) uphold marriage as the best means of providing children with the irreplaceable support of both their father and their mother.

As described below and at the following links, John has dedicated much of his life to advancing the rights and well being of the people of California:


John's Background: John Haggerty is 51. His late father, John, was a police officer and his mother, Nora, is a legal immigrant from Ireland. John graduated from Santa Clara University in 1984 with degrees in political science and accounting. He then graduated from U.C. Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. Upon passing the California bar in 1987, John opened his own law office in Santa Clara from which he has practiced law ever since with a professional focus on civil, trial, appellate,and arbitration law. He is single.Return above



A Defender of Veterans’ Rights: During his final two years at law school John Haggerty authored a law review note, entitled “The Ten Dollar Attorney Fee Limitation and Preclusion of Judicial Review in the Veterans Administration”, which was published in the Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly, a leading scholarly publication in the field of constitutional law. (Vol. 14, No. 1 (1986), pp. 141-172; In his law review note John demonstrated how two statutes--which prohibited veterans from paying their attorneys more than $10 in VA proceedings and barred them from appealing adverse decisions of the VA (which has a strong financial interest in limiting the amount of their benefits)--were not in accord with the constitutional rights of veterans to a fair hearing. John proposed that the $10 fee limitation be replaced with a less draconian limitation and that veterans be permitted to appeal adverse VA decisions to a more neutral court.

Two years later, in 1988, President Reagan signed the Veterans’ Judicial Review Act (Pub. L. No. 100-687, 102 Stat. 4105, Div. A (1988) §101; currently 38 U.S.C. §§ 5904, 7251-7299) into law which: (1) replaced the 125 year-old, $10 attorney fee limitation with a more realistic limitation (i.e., no more than 20% of benefits recovered); and (2) provided veterans with a new U.S. Court of Appeals (outside the VA) from which they can now obtain an impartial review of VA decisions. John Haggerty was so happy to be one of the many scholars, legislators, judges, attorneys, and veterans’ advocates who helped accomplish this long overdue result for our valiant veterans. Return above



A Tireless Campaigner for the Death Penalty: Like most Californians, John Haggerty has always known that California’s death penalty is a just and effective deterrent to vicious killers. It is fair and just because no one, especially the families of murder victims, should have to pay one cent in taxes to keep any of the 741 murderers at San Quentin alive. Most criminals, themselves, believe that the death penalty deters criminals. Organized crime, drug gangs, and other felons routinely “execute” fellow criminals who violate their “rules”. Murderers have little conscience. They only live for the “here and now” and that is the only thing that can be taken away from them.

When John ran for the Legislature as a journeyman candidate in the 1990’s, one of the three main issues he ran on was implementing the death penalty (the other two were taxes and schools). In his 1992 campaign mailer he wrote: “It is simply not right that those who kill others in cold blood receive room, board, and medical care for the rest of their lives at taxpayer expense.” In 1996 he called for “a more frequent use of the death penalty”. Tragically, since the 1970’s, only 13 murderers have been executed in California, and more and more murders are now happening on a daily basis and at an increasing rate throughout California.

Through the years John Haggerty has consistently supported, and donated to, candidates and causes favoring the death penalty. Most recently, in 2012, when leading opponents of the death penalty in California were once again attempting to abolish it by placing Proposition 34 on the ballot, John vigorously responded to their various arguments in the press. For example, when Judge LaDoris Cordell argued in a news article that the exoneration of some California defendants in recent years suggested that the continued use of the death penalty was too risky, John pointed out in a published response that: (a) none of those exonerations involved the death penalty (indeed, there is no evidence that California has ever wrongfully executed anyone); and (b) our state does not shut down its highways or hospitals whenever they experience fatal errors.

Similarly, when Judge Arthur L. Alarcon and Professor Paula M. Mitchell argued in a law review article that California’s death penalty costs too much, John pointed out in a published reply in the Daily Journal (California’s leading daily legal newspaper) that, even if one were to accept the numbers offered by the judge and the professor, it still only costs each Californian $4 a year to implement the death penalty--a very good value considering the substantial just and deterrent effects of that penalty. John also corresponded with other publications and public officials, strongly defending the death penalty against Proposition 34. Happily, in the end, Californians rejected Proposition 34 and its false promises of financial savings and governmental economy. Return above



An Active Opponent of Reverse Discrimination: The Equal Protection Clause of our Constitution prohibits our governments from treating any of us unequally on the basis of race. Nevertheless, beginning in the 1970’s, the federal government, the California state government, and many local governments began to racially discriminate in favor of members of minority races when they hired public employees, entered into public contracts, and/or admitted students into public universities. These governments purported to justify this new form of “reverse” unconstitutional discrimination by saying that they were only trying to “remedy” past discrimination against the races that they were now favoring.

In addition to being unconstitutionally unjust, most Californians, including John Haggerty, knew that this new form of racial discrimination was bad public policy that endangered the public safety. For example, how are parents of Race 1 benefitted when their local public school district hires a school bus driver of Race 1 (having assigned to him a discriminatory “plus factor” over a better qualified job applicant of Race 2) who then crashes the bus and injures a child of those parents? To end these dangers and injustices, in 1996, the people of California passed Proposition 209, which amended California’s Constitution to prohibit “reverse discrimination” by their government.

As it turned out, that same year, John Haggerty had applied for a position as a deputy city attorney with the City of Mountain View. As part of the application process for that position, the city directed him to submit a form that “required” him to disclose his race. When he asked the city for the legal basis of this requirement, its attorney could only cite California Government Code section 1233 which, as it turned out, only authorizes governments to request that job applicants voluntarily disclose their race. However, as John further researched the law and facts of this matter, he could see that even a request that applicants voluntarily disclose their race was unconstitutional because such a request still subjected them to the risk of racial discrimination by the government since applicants of a favored race would disclose their race and be hired while applicants of an unfavored race would not disclose their race and not be hired. Indeed, the City of Mountain View later admitted that it had used the racial information it received from applicants to assign “plus factors” in favor of the hiring of applicants of certain races.

Accordingly, John Haggerty initiated a legal action seeking a judgment that would declare that California Government Code section 1233--and the pre-employment racial inquiries it authorized--were unconstitutional because they improperly subjected job applicants to racial discrimination in violation of the Constitution and well-established case law. John promptly took this case all the way up to the United States Supreme Court. Unfortunately, that court decided not to decide the issue at that time (Haggerty v. City of Mountain View (1999) 528 U.S. 1005, cert. denied) nor has it decided the issue since then.

There were two, albeit limited, aspects of this case that were positive. First, towards the end of the case, the city informed John that it had revised its pre-employment racial inquiry form to state that completion of the form was voluntary, not required. Second, in 1998, the Mountain View City Council repealed its “affirmative action” policy of assigning “plus factors” to job applicants of certain races. Since 1999 John has corresponded with many other attorneys and public figures who also actively opposed our government asking us to disclose our race when we apply for public employment or admission to public universities.

More recently, in 2011, John Haggerty publicly objected to a statement of the current Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, in which she stated that she wished that the Governor would appoint a “Latino” to replace the then retiring Justice Carlos Moreno. In a letter to the Daily Journal (the leading daily legal newspaper in this state) John pointed out that this statement was in violation of article I, section 31, of the California Constitution (i.e., Prop. 209) as well as Canon 3 of the California Code of Judicial Ethics (prohibiting speeches by a judge that could reasonably be perceived of as indicating a racial bias).

As John pointed out in his letter: “Our governor should choose the most qualified person to replace Justice Moreno whether that person is a Mexican-American, a Filipina-American, or a Norwegian-American.” He concluded by asking the Chief Justice to retract her statement. Shortly thereafter, John also sent a letter to the Chief Justice, herself, once again asking her to retract her statement. The Chief Justice did not reply to either of these requests. However, two months later, when asked by a reporter about a replacement for Justice Moreno, the Chief Justice did reply: “We would like to see a permanent justice as soon as [the Governor] finds the most qualified candidate.” (Emphasis added.)

Progress comes slowly in the struggle of the American people to establish a government that is truly colorblind and merit-based. We must always be on guard against any attempts by the government to backpedal in this regard. For instance, earlier this year, the Legislature nearly placed a measure on the ballot that would have repealed the part of Proposition 209 that prohibits racial discrimination in university admissions. Return above



John’s Efforts To Improve California’s Jury Instructions: Jury instructions are critically important to California’s justice system. Through them judges inform jurors about the laws that they are to apply to the evidence that has been presented to them. In this regard all Californian judges rely upon the following two sources of pre-drafted jury instructions: (a) the BAJI Jury Instructions which the Los Angeles County Superior Court began publishing in the 1930’s; and (b) the CACI Jury Instructions which the California Judicial Council began to draft in 1997 and first published in 2003.

In 1999-2000 John Haggerty handled a case involving two legal claims (causes of action) that have existed for centuries: conversion (theft); and trespass to personal property. John was quite surprised to learn that the BAJI Jury Instructions did not provide any instructions for these causes of action. Consequently, he was required to research the law and draft his own jury instructions for the court to use in the trial of the case.

After the trial had concluded in 2000, John thought that it would be very unfortunate, if every time attorneys and judges were presented with claims of conversion or trespass to personal property, they had to reinvent the wheel, as it were, at their clients’ and the public’s expense, to draft their own instructions for these fairly common claims. Accordingly, John promptly sent copies of the jury instructions he had drafted (along with his supporting legal authorities) to the committees which drafted the BAJI and CACI Jury Instructions and invited them to use his work to draft their own instructions for those two types of claims.

Within a year (and for the first time ever) the BAJI Jury Instructions included an instruction for conversion. In addition, in their first edition (2003), the CACI Jury Instructions included instructions for both conversion and trespass to personal property. John Haggerty received letters from Justice Carol Corrigan of the California Supreme Court and Justice James D. Ward of the California Court of Appeal (then the leading members of the CACI committee), thanking him for his instructions which Justice Ward described as “excellent”.

Similarly, in 2005, when John Haggerty was involved in the trial of a claim for breach of fiduciary duty, he was compelled to research and draft his own instructions for that claim because neither the BAJI nor the CACI Jury Instructions had instructions for that particular claim. So once again John shared the jury instructions he had drafted with the CACI committee. Within a year, the CACI Jury Instructions included instructions for breach of fiduciary duty claims.

As a result of these jury instructions, which John Haggerty helped the BAJI and CACI committees to produce, thousands of trial judges, attorneys, and their clients have saved substantial amounts of time and money. John has also assisted the courts over the years in the field of arbitration. In the 1990’s he served as a volunteer judicial arbitrator for the Santa Clara County Superior Court. Several of the cases he handled as a judicial arbitrator resolved without the parties and the court having to incur the expenses of a trial.

More recently, in 2012, John established an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) service, called Haggerty Arbitrations, as a start-up business. Unlike most ADR services, which offer both arbitrators and mediators, John’s service focuses solely on arbitration, which requires skill sets that differ significantly from those that are required in mediation. However, to avoid any distractions and potential conflicts of interest, John has suspended the operations of this start-up business for the duration of his campaign for (and term as) Attorney General of California. Return above



A Campaigner for Term Limits: In the early 1990’s John Haggerty was actively involved in the Term Limits Movement which existed at that time to establish limits on the terms of political officeholders at all levels of California government. At the time there were hundreds of politicians throughout the state who had held the same office for decades. A challenger could rarely defeat these entrenched politicians because they had the strong advantages of incumbency, seniority, and in many cases gerrymandered districts.

In 1990 John supported Proposition 140, which established term limits for state legislators and elective state executive officers. That measure passed. As a volunteer, he walked precincts to obtain signatures to place a measure on the ballot to limit the terms of members of the San Jose City Council. That measure passed. In 1992 he actively campaigned in favor of term limits, including a ballot measure to limit the terms of the Santa Clara County Board of Supervisors which also passed.

While term limits have clearly not solved all of our political problems, they have caused California politicians to be more responsive to the needs of their constituents than the entrenched politicians of the past were. Return above



An Active Supporter of Parental Choice in Education: Throughout his education, from kindergarten to law school, John Haggerty was the beneficiary of a wide array of educational choices. He attended both publicly and privately run schools. As a result, he has always been an advocate of providing parents with the maximum amount of choices in the vitally important educational decisions that parents must make on behalf of their children.

Just as senior citizens may spend their Medicare benefits at the publicly or privately run hospitals of their choice, and just as college students and GI’s may spend their Pell Grants and GI benefits at the publicly or privately run universities of their choice, so too should the parents of K-12 students be able to send their children to the schools of their choice without losing all of the public funds to which their children are entitled.

When John ran for the Legislature as a journeyman candidate in the 1990’s one of the three main issues he ran on was providing: (a) parents with more educational choices; and (b) their children with the benefits of a more competitive K-12 education system, such as exists at the college level. In 1993 John actively supported Proposition 174 (which would have allowed parents to send their children to privately run schools without losing all of the public funds to which they were entitled) by working with other volunteers at the grassroots level, writing to the press and public officials, and donating funds. Unfortunately, Prop. 174 lost after public school teacher organizations spent millions of dollars to defeat it.

Seven years later, in 2000, John Haggerty actively supported Proposition 38, which again sought to accomplish what Prop. 174 had sought to accomplish. Well-known entrepreneur, Tim Draper, was a chief sponsor of this measure. It too lost after teacher organizations spent tens of millions of dollars to defeat it.

While John is not running for State Superintendent of Public Instruction, he has always firmly believed that a well-educated citizenry is a vitally important resource to law enforcement that produces a greater respect for the law. Return above



John’s Work on Behalf of the Unborn: Ever since he was in high school in the late 1970’s, John Haggerty, like many other Americans, has thought long and hard about the issue of whether or not elective surgical abortions should be legal. This issue has become unusually contentious over the years. While John is in no way running as a single-issue candidate this year (nor does he think that many Californians are single-issue voters), he will share his position on this issue here after briefly explaining how he arrived at that position.

First, after reviewing a significant amount of scientific photographic and ultrasound evidence (see, e.g.,, one sees that within four weeks the baby boy or girl in his or her mother’s womb is easily recognizable as a human body (with a head, limbs, and heartbeat) that is alive and rapidly growing. We, as a society, have always proudly proceeded with a strong presumption in favor of defending life, particularly human life. And yet, the photographic evidence also shows that surgical abortions destroy the baby’s growing body in a brutal manner.

Second, as a law student and later as an attorney, John saw that the Roe v. Wade (1973) decision (which essentially held, and has since been expanded to mean, that all women have a constitutionally protected right to surgically abort a baby in their womb at any time for any reason) was severely flawed in each of the following respects: (a) it improperly denied to Congress, the state legislatures, and even the people of the states acting through an initiative the right to determine whose human life will be protected by their laws against violence; (b) as even liberals such as Justice Ginsberg and Alan Dershowitz have conceded, by its judicial fiat, the Court improperly removed the subject of abortion from a robust public discussion of the issue that many state legislatures were having in the early 1970’s; (c) the medical analysis upon which the Court relied in Roe (i.e., the 3 month, “trimester” approach) no longer has any scientific validity (if it ever had) because premature babies now routinely survive outside their mother’s womb well before the “second trimester” ends; (d) the Roe case arose out of a false claim of a gang rape by the plaintiff in that case (who has since recanted that claim) which misled not only the Court, but the American public as well; and (e) the Court lost sight of the fact that there were two human bodies before it, not one.

Third, John also found it highly inconsistent that: (a) the same Court, which now holds that unborn baby boys and girls are not “persons” under American law, has long held that corporations (since 1886) and ships (since the beginning of the Republic) are persons under that law; (b) the same Court, which has repeatedly allowed Congress and state governments to take all kinds of drastic measures to protect the fertilized eggs of various species of birds and fish, prohibits those same governments from protecting the fertilized eggs of humans that are in danger of destruction; and (c) the same Court, which allows children, after they are born, to sue any person, who injured them when they were in their mother’s womb, for damages, does not recognize surgical abortion as involving any kind of damage.

In sum, for all of these reasons, John thinks that Roe was wrongly decided and that Congress and the states should have the power (preferably through laws passed by thoughtful, constitutional amendments and initiatives) to protect unborn girls and boys against the destruction of their bodies by elective, surgical abortions except in cases of rape or where the live of the mother is threatened. Rape is a most vicious and horrible crime and no woman should ever be required to bear some sex fiend’s offspring. In such cases, the rights of the woman, whose body has been wrongfully attacked and violently invaded, plainly and greatly outweigh the result of a rapist’s vicious crime against her and society.

In addition to peacefully protesting abortions, supporting anti-abortion candidates, and corresponding with the press and public officials over the years, in 1993, John Haggerty contacted the leaders of the main anti-abortion groups in America and proposed that they combine their forces to offer a special Petition to the American people (to be solemnly signed by Americans in their millions) calling for the establishment of a special nationwide referendum that would allow the people, themselves, to resolve the issue of abortion in a thoughtful, peaceful, democratic, comprehensive, and decisive manner. Unfortunately, most of the anti-abortion organizations essentially responded that they did not have the resources to join such an effort at that time.

Similarly, in 1995, John Haggerty introduced a resolution at the California Republican Party convention, calling for a “prompt, fair, deliberate, and democratic resolution” of the issue of abortion “free from the interference of activist judges and violent fanatics.” To this day, John Haggerty has remained committed to the thoughtful, peaceful, and democratic resolution of all major issues, including abortion and now marriage, where the people, themselves, not activist judges, attorney generals, the media, or extremists, decide whom our laws will protect and what our laws will uphold. Return above



John’s Work on Behalf of Marriage: Since the beginning of history in all cultures and societies marriage has meant the union of a man and woman who have agreed to support one another and raise the children they will produce. This has always been so because, as a matter of well-known biology, only a man and a woman can produce a child. In 1972, the very same U.S. Supreme Court, which had five years earlier held that interracial male-female couples had a constitutional right to marry, held, without hesitation, and on the merits, that same-sex couples do not have any such right. (Baker v. Nelson (1972) 409 U.S. 810.)

Society and its governments have always had a strong interest in children being raised in a stable family environment by both their father and their mother. As even President Obama (who opposed “same-sex marriages” up until 2012) noted in 2008, children who grow up without their father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of school, and twenty times more likely to end up in prison!! By encouraging men and women to channel their sexual activities into stable, committed relationships, marriage provides their children with: (a) the irreplaceable emotional, social, and economic support of both their father and their mother; and (b) close, good examples of how both adult men and women are expected to behave in a responsible society.

It is always important to remember that only heterosexual couples can unintentionally create a child. Homosexual (same-sex) couples cannot even intentionally create one. They can only intentionally obtain a surrogate or an adoptee. Governments have always had a vital interest in avoiding unintended and/or irresponsible pregnancies, an interest which: (a) the institution of marriage uniquely and beneficially serves; and (b) does not apply to same-sex couples.

Thus, the push in recent years to establish “same-sex marriages” is an ill-conceived attempt to treat two things that are quite different as though they were the same. It would severely dilute the unique focus of marriage because, if the number and types of relationships that were to be treated as marriages increased, the unique essence and focus of marriage would be lost. This loss of focus would severely weaken the vitally important public policies that marriage serves as it provides children with the irreplaceable, emotional, social, economic support and good examples of their mother and their father in a stable family relationship which those parents have responsibly planned for and intended.

Eight years after the Californian people passed Proposition 22 in 2000 as a statutory initiative, reaffirming that marriage was the union of a man and a woman, by a 61-39 percent margin, the California Supreme Court invalidated it after the then Attorney General Jerry Brown failed to even discuss the vital interests the state has in providing children with the support and example of their mother and their father. At that time John Haggerty wrote to the then Chief Justice Ronald George, as a citizen, to emphasize that our laws “should not be solely dependent upon what the Attorney General asserts are its purposes” and asked, “What if an Attorney General asserted that a measure did not serve any purpose?”

Fortunately, five months later, the people of California repudiated Justice George’s judicial fiat by enacting Proposition 8 as a constitutional amendment. During the years since then, as Proposition 8 has been challenged in the federal courts, John Haggerty has conducted a great deal of legal research on, and given much thought to, this subject. In a set of eleven, detailed, private letters to the attorneys who were defending Proposition 8 in the case between 2008 and 2013 (i.e., Charles J. Cooper, Esq., and Anthony P. Pugno, Esq.), John shared many of his findings and thoughts. He also expressed some of his findings and thoughts in letters that were published in the Daily Journal (the leading legal daily newspaper in this state) and the San Jose Mercury News.

As the Proposition 8 case progressed, the analysis before the courts became more and more finely tuned (as it usually does during an appellate proceeding). At first, there was a proper reliance on the precedential value of the Baker case, supra. The emphasis then shifted to the right of the people to maintain their traditional institutions. Finally, it ended up, as it should, on the unique and vitally important interests which our state has always had in marriage providing children with the irreplaceable support of both their mother and their father.

Unfortunately, all of the efforts by the attorneys and courts in this case came to naught after the current California Attorney General, Kamala Harris, refused to defend Proposition 8 (i.e., our state’s Constitution) before the U.S. Supreme Court. Yes, the California Attorney General, whose very office would not exist were it not for the California Constitution, deliberately refused to defend California's Constitution! As a tragic result of this gross dereliction of duty, the U.S. Supreme Court (relying upon its well-known, strict rules for legal standing) chose not to issue a decision on the merits of the constitutionality of Proposition 8. In other words, California's Constitution was not even given its day in court.

Because of Kamala Harris’ unprecedented dereliction of duty, our state’s Constitution is now in a grave state of limbo, as are the marriage laws of several other states due to the ongoing lack of a U.S. Supreme Court decision on the merits of this issue. While San Francisco Democrats Brown, Newsom, and Harris and their friends in Hollywood and the media now think that “same-sex marriage” is here to stay “whether we like it or not,” the rest of California is not merely waiting for, but insisting upon, a clear ruling on the merits of our Constitution’s marriage law from the U.S. Supreme Court. Interestingly, that court has not been in a hurry to give the liberal Democrats what they seek nor have those liberals been in any hurry to put an initiative on the California ballot to recognize “same-sex marriages”. California deserves a decision on the merits of this vitally important issue which respects California’s laws, people, and institutions. Return above



Summary: As one can see, whether working for veterans rights, the public safety, justice for victims, merit-based public hiring, better jury instructions, term limits, parental choice in education, the unborn, or marriage, John Haggerty has strived throughout the past 27 years, as an attorney and as a citizen, to serve the people of California. While no two people will ever support exactly all of the same things, if you like most of the principles and policies that John has worked hard to advance, please vote to elect John Haggerty as our next Attorney General in the June 3, 2014 primary election, so that he can continue to serve the people of our state.