Monday, January 10, 2011

Cal. Supreme Court: The Short List

Using the California court's website and a handful of reasonable criteria, I was able to include Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on the Short List of possible Chief Justice nominees.  As reported in the LA Times:  "When asked how [Justice Cantil-Sakauye] felt about her name not appearing on any of the usual lists of candidates for chief justice composed by media and legal analysts, she shot upright and raised a hand:  'I made one!'  She said a blogger in Southern California floated her name as a contender."

Using the same resources, I've compiled possible successors to Justice Carlos Moreno.  I've already introduced five of them, with extended bios.

The complete Short List is here, with brief bios on the new additions:

1. 4/3 Justice Richard D. Fybel
2. 2/7 Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss
3. 2/7 Justice Laurie D. Zelon
4. 9th Cir. Judge Kim McLane Wardlaw
5. 2/2 Presiding Justice Candace Cooper (ret.)

6. 4/3 Justice Kathleen O'Leary

Governor Brown appointed Justice O'Leary to the municipal court in 1982. She became the first woman to serve as presiding judge of the Orange County Superior Court, and was elevated to the Court of Appeal by Governor Davis. Her many honors include the 2006 OCBA Franklin G. West award for lifetime achievement, the 2007 Benjamin Aranda III Access to Justice Award, the 2003 California Judges Association's Bernard S. Jefferson Award for Distinguished Service in Judicial Education, and the 1999 Judicial Council Jurist of the Year.

7. 1/5 Justice Mark B. Simons

Governor Brown appointed Justice Simons to the municipal court in 1980. Later Contra Costa Superior Court presiding judge, he was elevated to the Court of Appeal by in 2000 by Governor Davis. A gifted educator, he has served as Dean of the B.E. Witkin Judicial College and received the 2000 Bernard Jefferson Award for distinguished service in judicial education.

8. 3 DCA Justice M. Kathleen Butz
Elected to the Nevada County Superior Court in 1996 and later presiding judge of that court, Justice Butz was elevated to the Court of Appeal by Governor Davis in 2003.  She currently serves on the Judicial Council's Appellate Indigent Defense Oversight Advisory Committee and the CJER Appellate Practice Curriculum Committee.
9.  2/8 Justice Laurence D. Rubin
Governor Brown appointed Justice Rubin to the Municipal Court in 1982; Governor Davis appointed him to the Superior Court in 2000 and the Court of Appeal in 2001.  A former clerk to Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk, Justice Rubin has served on the Judicial Council, the California Judges Association's executive board, and the Beverly Hills Bar Association's board of governors.
10.  4/1 Administrative Presiding Justice Judith McConnell
Governor Brown appointed Justice McConnell to the municipal court in 1978 and the superior court in 1980.  She was twice voted presiding judge of the San Diego Superior Court.  She later served two terms on the Judicial Council, chairing the Superior Court and Planning committees.  She currently chairs the Commission on Judicial Performance.
11. 4/1 Justice Joan K. Irion
While handling complex tax and business litigation at Heller Erhman, Justice Irion served on the State Bar Board of Governors, the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Commission, and the Bar Association of San Francisco’s Board of Directors.  She was President of the California Young Lawyers Association, a delegate to the ABA House of Delegates, and co-chair of the ABA Tax Litigation Committee. Governor Davis appointed her to the superior court in 2000 and the Court of Appeal in 2003.
12.  4/1 Justice Cynthia Aaron
A Harvard Law grad and former Federal Defenders trial lawyer, Justice Aaron was appointed U.S. Magistrate Judge in 1994 and named to the Court of Appeal in 2003 by Governor Gray Davis.  She graduated PBK from Stanford in 1979, making her possibly the youngest person on the Short List.
Let's call these "The Distinguished Dozen," with no slight to other jurists who would be fine additions to the high court.

And just so you can keep track of speculation in one place, other names being floated by the media include:
(1) 1/3 Justice Martin Jenkins, 1/4 Justice Maria Rivera, 1/2 PJ Tony Kline, and 2/6 PJ Art Gilbert (by Maura Dolan);
(2) Justices Rivera and Jenkins, Judge Kim Wardlaw, and Santa Clara County Superior Court Judges Katherine Lucero and Edward Davila (by Kate Moser); and 
(3) Justices Rivera, Jenkins, Kline, and Gilbert, Judges Davila and Lucero, UCLA Law School Dean Rachel Moran, and 2/4 Justice Nora Manella (by Laura Ernde).