Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, January 20, 2004


Page 1


Governor Tells Chief Justices Legal System Protected Him


From Staff and Wire Service Reports


Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was “protected with open arms” by the courts as a young immigrant when he needed visas to stay in the country, he told a group of chief justices gathered for a three-day conference in San Francisco yesterday.

That protection enabled him to leave a farm in Austria as a young man to become a championship bodybuilder, make millions in films, and oust a governor later in life, Schwarzenegger said.

“People born in America” take important things like freedom for granted, the governor told the audience of chief justices from around the country, including California Chief Justice Ronald M. George. “People dream about it...all over the world.”

Came at 21

Schwarzenegger said he had longed to come to America since he was 10.

“I came at 21 years old with absolutely nothing in my pockets,” Schwarzenegger observed. He was able to stay and live a life that went beyond his dreams because of “the services you provide,” Schwarzenegger told the jurists assembled for the National Conference of Chief Justices.

“This is really wild,” Schwarzenegger said, looking back on his life, adding that he hopes he doesn’t “wake up from this dream.”

The governor noted that the courts again stepped in to help him out later in life.

The Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals reinstated the Oct. 7 gubernatorial recall election after a federal judge ordered the voting delayed in response to a suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union. The civil rights group claimed that as many as 40,000 votes could be uncounted because of the use of punch-card ballots, the kind that prompted the “hanging chads” litigation in Florida’s after the 2000 presidential election.

Court Leaders

The heads of about 40 state courts are attending the conference, which began yesterday and will continue through tomorrow.

The National Center for State Courts, headquartered in Williamsburg, Va., serves as executive staff for conference and coordinates its meetings.

Conference topics were slated to include:

•A session on the implications of the surge in discovery of electronic information, focusing on the fairness and cost of judicial proceedings, and the orders, rules, standards, and principles being developed to address the problems created by e-discovery.

•A session discussing the implications of recent decisions relying on international law and treaties.

•A session dealing with effective judicial governance and accountability.

George, who chairs of the National Center’s Board of Directors, is presiding over the conference. Supreme Court Chief Justice Warren E. Burger founded the National Center for State Courts in 1971.


Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company