Los Angeles County and the conservative legal firm Judicial Watch are preparing to rumble in court again next month over whether L.A. judges should continue receiving an extra $46,000 in perks from the county’s coffers.
See why they won't go away, after the jump...
The county is expected to ask for summary judgment in Judicial Watch’s original Sturgeon case based on the new legislation, which authorizes counties to keep paying the benefits. Judicial Watch attorneys plan to seek summary judgment, too, saying the hastily crafted law is bogus and violates the Fourth District’s ruling outlawing the practice.
Among the group’s beefs: the legislation was adopted during an extraordinary session called by the governor to address the state’s budget mess, not judicial benefits.
“It doesn’t appear that that was included in the governor’s proclamation,” Judicial Watch attorney Paul Orfanedes said. “The Legislature only has authority to deal with issues in the proclamation.”
Orfanedes said the law might also violate the equal protection clause since it only authorizes benefits for judges in counties that paid them as of July 2008. Many counties do not offer extra perks to local judges, and no county is as generous as Los Angeles.
Aside from that legal issue, we’re still awaiting a ruling from Justice James Richman, sitting by assignment on the case, on whether the Los Angeles Superior Court as an entity can intervene in the case. That decision is expected before April 21, when the county is expected to file its briefs in the summary judgment battle.
— Cheryl Miller