Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Friday, December 7, 2001


Page 1


Board Asked to Rename Central Courthouse for Mosk


By ROBERT GREENE, Staff Writer


The Los Angeles Superior Court’s Central Courthouse would be renamed in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk under a motion set to come before the county Board of Supervisors Tuesday.

Supervisor Zev Yaroslavsky is asking his colleagues to rename the mammoth structure for Mosk, who died unexpectedly June 19 at age 88 after a 37-year career on the high court.

“In countless decisions, in personal conduct, in charitable activities, in progressive political activism, Justice Stanley Mosk exemplified the American ideals of tolerance, fair play, individual rights and civil liberties,” Yaroslavsky said in his motion, introduced Dec. 4. “Few jurists have so honored these principles and done more to advance them than he has.”

Mosk served as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge until 1958, the year he was elected attorney general and the Superior Court moved into the building that Yaroslavsky is asking to be renamed.

The structure at 111 N. Hill St. houses the administrative headquarters of the nation’s largest trial court, which expanded last year after absorbing the county’s 24 municipal courts. Before unification the west end of the building served as the headquarters of the Los Angeles Municipal Court.

It stands as a major fixture in a government mall that runs west from the federal Metropolitan Detention Center on Alameda Street, past City Hall, and up to the Music Center and the headquarters for the Department of Water and Power.

The renaming would be the latest in a recent spate of designating buildings for dignitaries. Until recently, most Civic Center buildings bore functional names only. Then the county Hall of Administration—a companion to the courthouse on the north side of a plaza—was renamed for longtime county Supervisor Kenneth Hahn on his retirement in 1992.

Last year, the board agreed to rename the Criminal Courts Building on Temple Street for pioneering attorney Clara Shortridge Foltz (a renaming ceremony is scheduled for February), and the DWP building was renamed for longtime City Council President John Ferraro shortly before his death.

The building slated for Mosk’s name was known for years simply as the County Courthouse, until the Criminal Courts Building was opened in the 1970s. It is now designated the Central Courthouse, although many lawyers and judges continue to refer to it by its former name.

A 1944 competition was held to select a designer for the structure, and a team of architects—including famed Los Angeles architect Paul R. Williams—was called on for the final design.

The Superior Court operates independently of Los Angeles County, but the county owns and operates the courthouses and has the right to name them.

Court spokesman Kyle Christopherson said Presiding Judge James Bascue had been notified of Yaroslavsky’s motion, but that the court and the judges were not otherwise consulted and took no part in recommending the name.

Bascue was away from the court yesterday at a conference. Through Christopherson, he said “we have no opposition” to adopting the new name.

Mosk was so respected as a jurist that the Supreme Court this year held two sessions in his honor, and countless ceremonies and remembrances have been held around the state since his death.

Second District Court of Appeal Justice Richard Mosk, the late justice’s son and a prominent Los Angeles attorney before his recent appointment to Div. Five, said he plans to be at the supervisors’ hearing on Tuesday to support Yaroslavsky’s motion.

“We’re thrilled,” Mosk said, adding:

“Naturally, I think it’s justified.”


Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company