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'Rose Bird Under Attack'

September 07, 1986

What is all the fuss about Chief Justice Bird? Here we have a woman who is qualified to serve on the bench, has succeeded in a male-dominated profession and is now attacked from every direction.

She is accused of thoughtlessly overturning death penalties and putting criminals out on the street yet little mention is made of her male Reagan-appointed predecessor, Donald Wright, who overturned more death penalty rulings than Bird. Wright, by the way, was reelected by a landslide. It does not seem to matter, either, that Bird is simply carrying out the law. She did not write the 1978 Briggs Initiative, which reinstated the death penalty. No one seems to recall that there were no executions in California in the 10 years before Bird was appointed to the bench.

One has to wonder if Bird is being attacked because she is a poor jurist or because she is a woman. Why have not the male justices who voted with her been so rigorously attacked?

LISA GURAVITZ

Newbury Park

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