Postcards with vulgar drawings and scrawled threats addressed to California Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird have prompted the group that launched the drive for her resignation to disassociate itself from such tactics.
The messages called Bird a "black-robed pervert," a "lousy criminal lover," a "communist" who is "certifiably stupid" and the "mistress of (state Assembly Speaker) Willie Brown."
One card warned: "You are not immune to a violent attack."
"We don't condone anyone writing messages such as that," said Debbie Goff, spokeswoman for Crime Victims for Court Reform, which spearheaded the drive.
"There are crazy people out there and they picked up some cards and wrote those things on them, but that's a small minority of cards. You'll always have a few nuts out there. But 6,000 people wrote reasonable remarks to Chief Justice Bird. That's how many people are upset," Goff said.
Goff said the group distributed 60,000 cards calling for Bird's resignation since mid-January and plans to distribute 30,000 more in the next few weeks. She said Bird received about 6,000 cards in a seven-week period ending earlier this month.
Bird, appointed chief justice by Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. in March, 1977, is to appear on the November, 1986, ballot for confirmation for a full 12-year term on the state high court.
Conservatives who oppose what they perceive as the court's pro-criminal attitude have focused their energy on defeating her in her bid for confirmation.
Bird refused comment on the mail, but her campaign manager, Linda Feldman, said Bird was "in good spirits, but realistic about this campaign. She understands the odds and she understands that she may lose. She wants to win."