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State Supreme Court to consider Schwarzenegger's furlough order tomorrow

Ruling could decide if governor has power to mandate unpaid days off for state employees

The California Supreme Court is set to grapple at a hearing in San Francisco tomorrow with whether the governor has the power to furlough tens of thousands of state workers in response to the Golden State's budget crisis.

In Pleasanton, furlough days have closed the Department of Motor Vehicles office on West Las Positas Boulevard on some Fridays.

The high court will hear arguments on three lawsuits filed by about 114,000 workers who were ordered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to take unpaid days off in the state's first round of furloughs between February 2009 and June 2010.

But the court's eventual ruling could affect all of the 200,000 workers furloughed last year, as well as the 144,000 now ordered off work in a second round of furloughs that began in August.

The 9 a.m. hearing will be broadcast live on the California Channel, a public affairs cable television network, and will also be available both live and in archives on the network's website, www.calchannel.com.

The court's eventual decision is expected to address whether Schwarzenegger had the power to mandate the unpaid days off through executive orders. The question of financial remedies for the workers, if they win the decision, may be left for future court proceedings.

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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