Appointment of Judges

Since Justice Allen E. Broussard of the state Supreme Court announced plans for retirement, we have heard calls for Gov. Pete Wilson to appoint a successor who will maintain "balance" on the court (e.g., editorial, "The Chance to Make a Great Appointment," Feb. 11). In this situation, "balance" is a code word for the appointment of a liberal judge.

The editorial refers to a period 25 years ago when the California Supreme Court is said to have been "widely regarded as the nation's most respected state court." Maybe so. But let us think of a more recent period when the court was dominated by liberals appointed by former Gov. Jerry Brown. Those appointees were rejected by the public as soon as their records became known and an opportunity to vote on them became available. To appoint a Rose Bird clone to the court now in order to maintain "balance" would be an offense against the people.

When there was a choice between Wilson and Dianne Feinstein for the governorship, the voters who thought about the issue probably preferred the kind of judge Wilson was seen as likely to appoint. He ought to be faithful to the public instead of flouting it for the sake of "balance."

RICHARD A. PERKINS

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