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Supreme Court Selection

November 28, 1986

Former Gov. Pat Brown (Letters, Nov. 22) is apprehensive and Supreme Court Justice Cruz Reynoso fears that judges must become politicians (Times, Metro Section, Nov. 22). They fear for the Supreme Court of California.

They can relax. The lack of faith in the good sense of Californians is their own--certainly not the people's.

When an American institution gets out of hand it gets its hands slapped. American institutions are good institutions: the executive, the legislative, the judicial, the press and broadcast media, the churches. Unfortunately (and there is no cure for this misfortune) they have to be run by people. Every so often certain people prove that they are not up to the people's standards of how the institutions they manage, or serve in, ought to be run.

Convinced of this the people throw them out of office. And thank goodness there are ways to do this, or else they would get "blown" out of office, as occurs regularly in non-democratic societies.

The people of California ran out of patience with a Supreme Court majority that reversed all the lower courts' judgments that people who became a law unto themselves and killed in outrageous and wanton ways should be in turn removed from society by execution. No matter how any individual feels about the death penalty, the people's consensus is that after trial and judgment execution is a fit penalty for violation of another's right to live.

And there was another issue only lightly touched: making business and industry responsible for every accident that could be connected with their products, as though they were a bottomless pit of money from which anyone could draw if he could scheme up a theory and get to the Supreme Court with it. Business and industry fought back.

The Supreme Court brought its troubles on itself. The amazing thing is that it and the Browns and Reynoso do not realize it.

The lesson for the court is that there are Californians out there it was created to serve, and it must do so, at its peril. If as individuals they want to serve and advance some other scheme for living in California, they should resign and get on with it as a private citizen, and not try to foist it upon the people with court decrees they find outrageous.

W.J. VALENTINE

Long Beach

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