Some quick thoughts from Sacramento this afternoon … Poor Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. He usually takes heat from the left for not appointing enough minorities to the bench. Today he’s hearing it from the political right because 11 of the 14 judges he named Thursday are registered Democrats. Republican pundit John Fleischman calls the governor’s bipartisan appointment record “deplorable.”
Another noteworthy trend among Schwarzenegger’s appointees yesterday was their relative youth. Two of the 14 are in their 30s. Another one is 44. The kindergarten crop of judges also includes six law firm litigators, a departure from the more typical appointments from prosecutors’ offices.
Existing judges have their hands full with all the litigation coming out of Sacramento these days. Attorney General Jerry Brown and state prison receiver J. Clark Kelso continue to snipe at each other in press releases and Ninth Circuit legal briefings over Kelso’s plans to build a half-dozen new inmate medical facilities. Each one accuses the other of deception and wasting taxpayers’ money. Sure, there’s the whole legal adversaries thing and the political baggage of Brown’s likely campaign for governor weighing on the fight. But the conflict sure seems to have a deeper, personal edge to it.
State controller John Chiang is also suing (.pdf) … the governor. Chiang says the governor doesn’t have the authority to force state workers to take two-day-a-month unpaid furloughs. And making Chiang’s argument is the controller’s team of in-house counsel. Who knew California’s chief accountant’s office was such a hotbed of legal work? All four lawyers listed on Chiang’s brief graduated from McGeorge School of Law. Perhaps there’s a pipeline between the Sacramento school and the controller’s office? If there is, they didn’t tell Chiang, who’s a Hoya from Georgetown University’s Law Center.
— Cheryl Miller