Well, it seems that Bird-bashing is still the order of the day, even after the voters have handed down what should be the last word on her court: their overwhelming rejection of her as chief justice. Now along comes Bill Zimmerman to throw some more stones at poor Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird (Opinion, Nov. 9), "The Campaign That Couldn't Win: When Rose Bird Ran Her Own Defeat."
Zimmerman's article takes the prize for having more self-serving statements in any analysis piece I've read in The Times. According to Zimmerman, Rose Bird lost because she rejected the "negative" campaign that Zimmerman and his firm wanted to run for her. Zimmerman actually seems to think that if Rose Bird accepted his campaign strategy she'd still be on the Supreme Court along with her colleagues Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin.
Zimmerman states a truth that Rose Bird wanted to win. But, and Zimmerman does not appear to realize this, she did not want to win at the expense of politicizing her court.
Bird was forced to play a major role in a truly classic political tragedy. She found herself caught up in controversies surrounding the issue of the death penalty (which involved only a few of the many opinions she wrote while on the court); while she obviously was wholly committed to win, she could only do so by adopting the same measures as her opposition. She decided not to do this.