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'Support for the Justices'

October 26, 1986

I am very distressed by Gov. Deukmejian's letter (Oct. 6) regarding his opposition to the retention of Justices Grodin, Reynoso and Bird.

Apparently, the governor feels that there is some "magic" number of death penalty cases that a justice must confirm to rate reconfirmation by the voters.

From reading his letter, that number must be greater than five (the number confirmed by Justice Grodin) and less than 17 (the number confirmed by Justice Mosk). The implication of this is that the justices should (in capital cases) make decisions based on something other than the facts of each individual case. i.e., that justices "batting average" of confirmations to reversals for that particular season. Such an action would clearly be in violation of the justices' sworn duty.

The governor also failed to mention his own personal interest in the outcome of this reconfirmation vote. If we are to believe the polls, it seems likely that the governor will be the one to appoint any new justices should any of the current ones fail to achieve reconfirmation. If anyone believes that this did not influence his unprecedented decision to oppose the reconfirmation of three justices of the state Supreme Court, I have some oceanfront property in Arizona you might be interested in.

In short, the governor's opposition to these three justices is nothing but a thinly veiled attempt to tilt the ideology of the court to the right and increase his own personal power. The voters of California should reject this unseemly power grab and reconfirm the three justices.

GUIDO S. MARX

San Anselmo

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