Straight Talk from Al Jacobs
THE PERPETUAL OFFICE HOLDER
An article in my local newspaper by UC Irvine Law School Dean Erwin Chemerinsky commends U.S. District Judge Cormac Carney’s recent decision declaring California’s death penalty unconstitutional. In particular, he credits the jurist’s action to the fact that federal judges can render rulings which ignore voter sentiment, as they needn’t stand for reelection.
Dean Chemerinsky, a long-time death penalty opponent, accurately outlines the irrationality of capital punishment as administered in California. Inasmuch the system mandates multiple levels of appeal, so that the ultimate penalty cannot be effected within a quarter century, it’s indeed “irreparably broken.” You must note, however, that these arcane procedures were in fact instituted through the efforts of death penalty opponents
To further justify life appointment for judges, the article presents the following: “In California, we cannot forget how three members of the California Supreme Court – Chief Justice Rose Bird and Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso – were voted out of office in 1986 because they were perceived as too lenient in death penalty cases.” Perhaps Dean Chemerinsky forgets the lunacy going on thirty years ago. My vote to oust Ms. Bird and her two cohorts related not to capital punishment, but rather their ruling invalidating the due-on-sale clause of mortgage loans, which, in effect, destroyed the Savings & Loan industry—an unbelievably inane decision.
A final thought: Lifetime appointments should have ended with the death of King Henry VIII. Thank God for the citizen’s ability to rid itself of the perpetual office holder.
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