Monday, October 16, 2006
Republican Group Opposes Kennard’s Retention
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The California Republican Assembly opposes the retention of California Supreme Court Justice Joyce L. Kennard in next month’s election, the group’s president said Friday.
“Her disregard of the law, and willingness to make law, and willingness to put her views into the law is a real problem,” CRA President Mike Spence told the MetNews.
Spence said the CRA’s major concern was Kennard’s votes in a 1996 case to strike down a law requiring parental consent before minor girls could obtain abortions.
Kennard “is an enemy of parental rights,” Spence said.
“Proposition 85 is on the ballot because of justices like Joyce Kennard,” he said. “If you are voting yes on 85, you should vote no on Joyce Kennard.”
If passed by voters, Proposition 85 would amend California’s Constitution to prohibit abortions for unemancipated minors until 48 hours after the physician notifies the minor’s parent or legal guardian, except in a medical emergency or where there is a parental waiver. A similar measure was rejected by voters at the special election last November.
Kennard pointed out that the case referred to by Spence is 10 years old, and the majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Ronald M. George, who was retained by voters in 1998.
“In my tenure on the court, I have always tried to apply the law. Naturally, there are going to be cases where people or organizations disagree,” she said.
Kennard declined to say whether she intends to further respond to the criticism.
George, who received similar criticism from conservatives in his own party and used the services of a professional campaign consultant in his 1998 retention election,  defended his colleague, saying:
“Justice Kennard is an extremely diligent jurist who  takes her job very seriously and puts a lot of effort and ability into the opinions she writes, and into her work at the court.”
“I see no basis for any opposition to her reconfirmation. She has served the people of California well.”
Solano Superior Court Judge Scott L. Kays, president of the California Judges Association, agreed, saying:
“From a personal view, I think Justice Kennard has done a fine job and I would hope that voters would take the time to educate themselves on her record and become fully informed before they make a decision, and not follow the recommendation of one group or another.”
George and Kays stressed the need for an independent judiciary at the annual conferences of the State Bar and CJA, which were held at the same time in Monterey earlier this month.
Kennard is a Republican, as is former Gov. George Deukmejian, from whom she obtained four judicial appointments.
In her meteoric rise to the state’s high court, Kennard, now 65, was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1986, the Los Angeles Superior Court in 1987, this district’s Court of Appeal in 1988 and the Supreme Court in 1989. She was reconfirmed to her current 12-year term by voters in 1994.
Spence also said the CRA, generally considered to be the most conservative of the state’s Republican volunteer groups, will oppose the reconfirmation of Justice Kathleen E. O’Leary of the Fourth District Court of Appeal. O’Leary could not be reached for comment.
Copyright 2006, Metropolitan News Company