Notes From Babel

When it comes to Supreme Court nominations, Jerry Brown has a type

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Governor Brown indicates his criteria for potential Supreme Court justice nominees:

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said Brown brought up the subject during a two-hour conversation in San Francisco on Friday and suggested his appointee would be relatively young, quite possibly a minority and not necessarily a current judge.

“He’s interested in ethnic diversity, he’s looking at academic professor types and also for someone young who will stay awhile,” Cantil-Sakauye said Wednesday in recounting the discussion.

This might sound familiar.  Chief Justice Rose Bird, Brown’s most controversial appointee from his first term as governor, had no prior experience as a judge.  In fact, she had been admitted to the California State Bar just 10 years prior, only barely eligible under the state’s present constitutional 10-year membership requirement.  Cal. Const. art. VI, § 15.  Bird was also “relatively young”—only 40 years old when appointed Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court in 1977.  And she was a “professor type,” having taught at Stanford Law School from ‘72 to ‘74.

Watch Jerry Brown closely when it comes to appointments, particularly judicial nominees.

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Written by Tim Kowal

February 13, 2011 at 12:05 pm

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