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Supreme Court Selection

November 28, 1986

The piece by retired Justice Kaus manifests the wit and good sense for which he is well known to the bench and bar, if not to the general public.

He is certainly right in opposing state Senate confirmation of California appellate judges. The clownishness recently displayed by a faction (perhaps soon to become a majority) of the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington would surely be equaled and probably surpassed in Sacramento.

Having seen some of his recent colleagues rejected at the Nov. 4 election Kaus understandably believes that a change in the methods of choosing and retaining our appellate judges is called for. But he and others who fear for the future of the judiciary of this state are mistaken; in the future as in the past, contested retention elections of appellate judges will be very rare.

It took a combination of whimsical appointments to the bench and a long course of judicial arrogance and tyranny to bring public opinion to the point of rejecting sitting judges. The public wants to respect the courts, and will do so unless its confidence is abused. But as another wise justice (Oliver Wendell Holmes) once said, even a dog can tell the difference between being stumbled over and being kicked. The public will put up with a good deal of stumbling, but it knew the difference, and on Nov. 4 showed it.

RICHARD A. PERKINS

Los Angeles

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