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Supreme Court and Independence

October 03, 1986

I need some clarification of facts. In his article Heard defends Gov. Deukmejian's efforts to oust three state Supreme Court justices as follows:

"As for those who cry that Deukmejian is plotting to 'pack the court' with ideologues, where were they when Jerry Brown took advantage of an unprecedented six vacancies to fill the court . . ."

I want to know if Gov. Brown "took advantage" of these vacancies, or did he actively set out to hound and harass six sitting justices in order to create these vacancies?

There is, to me, an ethical difference between "taking advantage of" and "creating" judicial vacancies. Were the latter true in Gov. Brown's case, I would consider his behavior to have been just as despicable as I find Deukmejian's now to be.

In the former case, were Gov. Brown presented with "unprecedented six vacancies," would Heard have wanted Brown to fill the vacancies with judges he disliked or was opposed to? Or should Brown in the interest of fairness have left those vacancies unfilled?

BERL GOLOMB

Santa Barbara

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