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Appointment of Ronald George

I was disappointed to read of Gov. Pete Wilson’s appointment of Appellate Justice Ronald George to replace Allen Broussard on the California Supreme Court (front page, July 30). Notwithstanding George’s impressive credentials, I think it most important, given the extreme racial polarization of our society, to have a minority presence on the court.

Having said that, I would also admonish liberals and civil rights groups to be careful not to outsmart themselves in their use of political rhetoric. When President Bush named Clarence Thomas, a black, to succeed Thurgood Marshall, also black, on the U.S. Supreme Court, a parade of Democrats accused the President of hypocrisy, given Bush’s outspoken opposition to racial “quotas” and the current civil rights bill being debated.

Wilson would have risked the same charge of “hypocrisy” had he now appointed a black judge to replace Broussard. My suspicion is that the governor, assuming he understands the need for minority voices on the court, decided to wait for a future vacancy before making a black or Latino appointment.

The sad truth is that both the left and the right have so manipulated racial issues, and so enmeshed the noble goals of affirmative action in the political power struggles over “quotas,” “underrepresentation” and “institutionalized racism,” that it has become increasingly difficult to sensibly address these issues or even for a governor to simply “do the right thing.”

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DAVID A. KARNES

Los Angeles


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