Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas says he favors lifetime appointments for California Supreme Court justices to protect their independence. But he told the California Trial Lawyers Assn. meeting in Monterey that he doubts the elimination of court elections is politically feasible. "There is nothing like knowing, when the government appears before you . . . when you rule against them, there is absolutely no concern," said Lucas, a former federal judge. Lucas was named to the high court in 1984 by Gov. George Deukmejian, who promoted him to chief justice after Rose Elizabeth Bird and Justices Cruz Reynoso and Joseph R. Grodin were defeated in the November, 1986, election. Lucas said it remains to be seen if that election was "a 100-year flood, which I hope will not happen again, or if it is going to become a recurrent thing, which will be to the great detriment of the judicial system in California."