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Rejection of Rose Bird

November 11, 1986

In less civilized times of lynch law, a certain type of magistrate often became known as a "hanging judge." Having spent most of his political career on fanatical promotion of the death penalty, the man just reelected to office by a wide margin certainly qualifies as a "hanging governor." One for whom the procession from Death Row to the execution chamber could well be the hallmark and principal accomplishment of his Administration.

Putting moral and cultural aspects of legal murder by the state aside, however, the political manipulation of the courts is of greater significance.

By approving the hatchet job on three justices of the Supreme Court, the voters, or at least a large majority of them, were apparently suckered into endorsing special interests with motives far more questionable than enforcing a law of vengeance. And when the tenure of those who sit on the court can be limited by the vast amounts of money spent by such interests, not only justice but the validity of the legal system goes out the window.

The dignified response of the chief justice to the verdict removing her from office put her head and shoulders above the crowd crying for her ouster. Victim of a campaign of innuendo and vilification, her honesty and integrity remain intact. Something that can hardly be said of her detractors.

ADRIAN D. KUEPPER

Malibu

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