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Supreme Court and Independence

October 03, 1986

Christopher Heard's article (Editorial Pages, Sept. 22) attempts to justify Gov. Deukmejian's partisan attack on the so-called "liberal" Supreme Court justices up for reconfirmation on the November ballot by a ruse that reeks of smoke and reflects like the cracked mirror it is.

The ruse is simple: If a judge interprets the Constitution so as to include any class previously unfairly discriminated against, that judge is "activist." If, on the other hand, a judge limits the protection of the laws to those classes who already had "rights" when the Constitution was written, that judge is applying "neutral, objective, uniformly applied principles."

This is the same conservative claptrap that George Orwell's "1984" labeled "Newspeak." Call something "neutral" when it interprets the word "equality" to be limited to those classes who already have it, and "activist" when it thoughtfully interprets it the way any second grader would . . . to balance the rights of citizens so as to eliminate the prejudice and ignorance that informed early state governments and courts.

To call judicial obstructionism "impartiality" and "objectivity" and any move by the court to apply dictionary definitions of liberty and equality "substituting the judge's wishes and values" is patently ridiculous.

The Big Lie seems to be working, though, as most of the polls show the people are swallowing this line.

When will the electorate realize that doing nothing is just as much of a political statement as doing something?

As to the governor's lack of ideological requirements in his judicial appointments--is it just a coincidence that more than 85% of the appointees are Republicans? And that no judicial candidate is even considered for appointment unless she/he fits a "profile?"

No, folks, the Guv is not attempting to "unpack" the court, but to "pack" it. Don't be fooled. Protecting the independence of our judiciary is the only way to protect our freedoms and our own independence against a government out to impose its will on all of us. Voting to retain all the justices is voting to retain our freedoms.

SHEILA JAMES KUEHL

Santa Monica

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