Monday, July 19, 2004
Governor Names Davies to Advise on Judicial Appointments
But San Diego Lawyer Will Have Neither Salary Nor Title He Enjoyed in Similar Role Under Wilson
By KENNETH OFGANG, Staff Writer
Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger Friday named San Diego attorney John Davies as his judicial appointments advisor.
The 70-year-old Davies, who served as judicial appointments secretary to then-Gov. Pete Wilson from 1995 to 1999, will work with Chief of Staff Pat Clarey and Legal Affairs Secretary Peter Siggins, the Governor’s Office said in a release.
“John’s experience in the judicial appointments process is an invaluable asset to my administration,” the release quoted Schwarzenegger. ”I look forward to working with him to ensure my judicial appointees meet the highest standards of integrity and experience.”
A request for comment by Davies was referred to the Governor’s Office, where a spokesperson declined to say anything beyond the content of the press release. Davies’ annual salary as an advisor will be $60,000, the release said; he received $95,000 a year when he oversaw Wilson’s appointments.
Sources said Clarey and Siggins have already begun the process of sending names to the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, at least for Court of Appeal vacancies.
Appeals Court Openings
There are three such openings in the state, including one in this district’s Div. Four, from which Presiding Justice Charles Vogel retired in January. Sources, who insisted on anonymity, said that Acting Presiding Justice Norman L. Epstein is under consideration to succeed Vogel and that Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Elihu Berle is under consideration to replace Epstein if he is elevated.
Epstein would only confirm that he has applied for the position. Berle could not be reached Friday.
The Administrative Office of the Courts reported that there were 33 Superior Court vacancies, including seven in Los Angeles County, as of July 1.
Chief Justice Ronald M. George said the appointment of Davies was a good one.
“I’m very glad that we have somebody in place with the experience and expertise of John Davies,” he said. The chief justice said he considered Davies a good friend, going back to the 1980s, when Wilson was a U.S. senator, Davies oversaw Wilson’s advisory committees in charge of recommending candidates for possible appointment to the federal bench, and George chaired the advisory committee for the Central District of California.
Davies, the chief justice said, possesses “excellent judgment and common sense” and comes to the job with “no agenda [other than] helping the governor leave as fine a legacy of judicial appointments as possible.”
Schwarzenegger’s decision to have several officials share responsibility for judicial appointments is not all that unusual, the chief justice commented. “There are many different models,” he said. “Chiefs of staff and legal affairs secretaries have been involved in the past to varying degrees.”
Sheldon Sloan, a State Bar Board of Governors member from Los Angeles who is active in Republican politics and was reputed to have influence in the judicial selection process during Wilson’s governorship, also said the new system was likely to work well.
Team Approach Praised
Sloan described Clarey, whom he has worked with, as “really bright” and said he had heard “really good things” about Siggins, who rose through the ranks of the Attorney General’s Office before joining Schwarzenegger. The team approach, he said, means that Davies doesn’t have to spend all of his time in Sacramento, where Clarey and Siggins are based.
Davies said in a 1995 MetNews interview that when he took the position with Wilson, he hoped to work primarily in San Diego, but wound up spending four days in the capital most weeks.
Davies has been of counsel to Allen, Matkins, Leck, Gamble & Mallory since 1993. He served as a partner in Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and a predecessor firm for 17 years and specialized in real estate and probate at Davies & Burch, of which his father was a founder, from 1963 to 1976.
Davies began his legal career as a research attorney for Justice Roger J. Traynor of the California Supreme Court.
Davies’ experience also includes service on the Regents of the University of California, on which he completed a 12-year term in March. He has also served on several corporate and charitable boards.
Davies is a graduate of Boalt Hall School and USC.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company