Friday, June 9, 2006
Schwarzenegger Should Re-Appoint Janavs to Superior Court
On June 19, 1986, then-Gov. George Deukmejian appointed Dzintra Janavs to the Los Angeles Superior Court.
She has served with distinction.
Nonetheless, Janavs is being turned out of office. Voters on Tuesday chose the Manhattan Beach “Bagel Lady,” a non-practicing attorney who’s in the bakery and sandwich trade, over a 20-year veteran of the bench who presides over writ proceedings.
Numerous members of the Superior Court, in shock over the electorate’s folly, are expressing hopes that the current governor, Arnold Schwarzenegger, to do what Deukmejian did 20 years ago: appoint Janavs to the bench.
Clearly, he should do so.
Janavs could be appointed to a vacancy even before her current term ends on Jan. 7. The state constitutional prohibition on a judge accepting appointment to another public office during his or her term is expressly inapplicable to appointment to a “judicial office.” Any appointment of Janavs by Schwarzenegger during the 90-day period from Oct. 9, 2006 to Jan. 7, 2007—the final 90 days of the governor’s current term—would not require an evaluation of Janavs by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. (Such an evaluation would be quite unnecessary in the case of a person who has been on the Superior Court for two decades, and was found by the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. to be “exceptionally well qualified.”)
We urge that Schwarzenegger do what Deukmejian did in appointing the late Mildred L. Lillie as presiding justice of Div. Seven of this district’s Court of Appeal: make the appointment without the formality of a job application.
Janavs, 69, should not be treated like an attorney or commissioner seeking a judicial post. Deference should be lent under the unique circumstance here present: the court needs the continuing services of a seasoned judge who was denied reelection through the blundering of the electorate.
Not only should the governor reappoint Janavs, but should spare her the need to file a personal data questionnaire with his office or to justify her existence as a judge by appearing before the JNE Commission.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company