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Judicial Conscience

September 21, 1986

The stand of California judges against participating in organizations that practice "invidious discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion or national origin" is a welcome contribution to the struggle to break down the barriers that divide American society.

There is, in the debate and vote of the California Judges Assn., the potential for ambiguities and misunderstandings. Some will not interpret as invidious the practices of Kiwanis or the California Club. But those determined to overcome the discriminations that weaken the nation will find in the judges' vote encouragement for their efforts. And those in doubt will be inspired on a course that rejects the unfairness inherent in discriminatory practice.

The U.S. Judicial Conference and the American Bar Assn. had previously adopted similar guidelines for their members, and the State Bar Board of Governors in August had urged its members not to use discriminatory clubs for professional or business purposes; the governors also urged law firms not to pay membership fees for those who join.

"The action today will enhance the image of judges in the community," a Superior Court judge commented. It is not just judges and attorneys who need be concerned about the image of participating in discriminatory clubs. It is everyone.

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