Tuesday, June 8, 2004
Chief Justice Says He Will Decide Today Whether State Courts Will Close Friday to Honor Reagan
By DAVID WATSON, Staff Writer
Chief Justice Ronald George said yesterday he will decide today whether state courts will close Friday to observe a National Day of Mourning declared by President George W. Bush to honor former President Ronald Reagan, who died Saturday at age 93.
George said he was in meetings in Los Angeles all day yesterday and had not yet had a chance to consult with officials at the Administrative Office of the Courts about a possible closure. Nor, he said, had he seen Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s proclamation declaring Friday a “day of remembrance of the extraordinary life of President Reagan.”
Schwarzenegger’s proclamation authorizes a day off on Friday for executive branch employees. A press release from the Governor’s Office said the offices of state agencies will close for the day.
George said he will meet today with court officials to determine how the judicial branch will honor the former president.
He noted that Reagan appointed him to his first judicial office, as a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge, in 1972. The then-governor of California told George, the chief justice recalled, that Reagan had followed and been impressed with his advocacy as a deputy attorney general in the appeal of Sirhan Sirhan, who was convicted of assassinating U.S. senator and presidential candidate Robert Kennedy.
George said he remembered the exact words Reagan used in informing him that he had been selected for the bench, telling George he had a “some new chores” for him.
George also recalled introducing his son, Eric George, to the former president years later, after Reagan had left office. Eric George was then a new lawyer, and Reagan had a lawyer joke at the ready for the occasion, the chief justice recollected.
“If I had been introducing him to a doctor or an engineer, he would have been able to tell a doctor or engineer story,” George commented.
Under the presidential declaration, the offices of the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Pasadena will be closed on Friday, a spokesperson for that court said.
The U.S. District Court for the Central District of California and the Central District Bankruptcy Court will be also be closed, though both will have some staff working and will be open for emergency filings, spokespersons there explained.
A notice issued by District Court Executive Sherri R. Carter said individual district judges may decide to hold court and limited staff will be available to staff the courts which remain in session, accept emergency filings, and provide some services in records, fiscal and jury sections.
The U.S. Supreme Court will be in recess and the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts also will be closed.
A spokesperson for the U.S. Postal Service said post offices will be closed Friday and there will be no regular mail delivery service.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company