Monday, February 12, 2007
Judge Rejects Challenge to Brown’s Right to Remain Attorney General
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Jerry Brown is qualified to serve as California attorney general, a Sacramento Superior Court judge ruled Friday.
Sacramento Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian rejected a challenge from Republican activists, who claim that Brown is unqualified under Government Code Sec. 12503, which says:
“No person shall be eligible to the office of Attorney General unless he shall have been admitted to practice before the Supreme Court of the state for a period of at least five years immediately preceding his election or appointment to such office.”
Brown has been a member of the State Bar since 1965, but was on inactive status from 1997 to May 2003. Ohanesian agreed with Brown that a period of voluntary inactive status may count as part of the five years.
The plaintiffs, Proskauer Rose associate Adam Abrahms and three other attorneys active in the Republican Party, will ask the Third District Court of Appeal to expedite review of the opinion, their attorney told the MetNews.
“The judge indicated we’d raised some interesting issues but she felt that there were ambiguities in the statute and based on that they had to be interpreted in a way that allowed [the election results to stand.],” Michael Schroeder, who recently took over the case from the Sacramento firm of Bell, McAndrews & Hiltachk, commented.
“Frankly that’s what we expected,” Schroeder commented, predicting the Court of Appeal would hear arguments in 60 to 90 days. Schroeder, who practices in Santa Ana, is a former state GOP chairman.
A phone call to Brown’s office late Friday was not returned.
Brown’s wife, Anne Gust Brown, who serves as unpaid counsel to the Attorney General’s Office, told the Sacramento Bee that the suit was “frivolous” and that “it’s unfortunate that this sort of political stunt could get this far.”
Chuck Poochigian, a former state senator who was Brown’s Republican opponent in November—losing by 18 percentage points—is not a party in the suit but endorsed it when it was brought. Poochigian and the Bell firm both said at the time that the senator was not supporting the action financially, although the firm was representing him in an unrelated matter at the time.
Copyright 2007, Metropolitan News Company