Tuesday, April 29, 2008
James N. Bianco
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 125
We endorsed Los Angeles Superior Court Commissioner James Bianco on April 1, commenting that he “is personable, candid, articulate, and bright.” We noted, however, that he is off to a shaky start as a judicial officer, with both the Offices of Public Defender and District Attorney disparaging his performance.
We also expressed the view that his opponent, private practitioner Bill Johnson, was a candidate “not only devoid of qualifications for judicial service but one possessed of extremist views and highly questionable judgment.” At that point, we were unaware of just how extremist his views were.
A profile appearing in today’s issue reveals that Johnson is a fanatic who urges the purging of non-whites from the United States. Exceptions he would make are that native Americans, Aleuts, and Hawaiians could remain—but on reservations—and white Hispanics would not have to depart if they are “in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is in the British Isles or Northwestern Europe.”
Whatever questions might exist as to whether Bianco is ready for a judgeship wither when one looks at Johnson. He’s a bigot who obviously disputes the recitation in the Declaration of Independence that “all men are created equal,” who expressly advocates wiping out the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments to the United States Constitution.
It has been oft declared that due process requires that court proceedings be presided over by unbiased judges. Unless the Fourteenth Amendment is, as Johnson desires, scrapped—and with it the guarantee of due process in state court proceedings (a happening that is not conceivable)—Johnson would, in light of his expressed biases against non-whites and Hispanics, be so constricted as a judge with respect to what disputes he might hear as to be stymied.
It is now with fervor that we endorse Bianco. Although his credentials are less than imposing, the unfitness of his opponent is manifest.
Within days from now, the Los Angeles County Bar Association’s Judicial Election Evaluations Committee will release ratings of the candidates. We would be astounded if the rating of Johnson were other than “not qualified,” and predict that he will draw that assessment. If we are right, LACBA will have performed a public service.
But, in this unique context, with a white supremacist seeking judicial office, is a mere evaluation of the two candidates a sufficient response?
In days gone by, LACBA was politically feistier, conducting plebiscites and, on the basis of the results, endorsing candidates, with its slate published in newspaper advertisements. It abandoned that system after the 1972 election and is not apt to revert to the old system in the near future.
Notwithstanding the customary approach it has opted to take in recent years with respect to judicial elections, we would suggest that the county’s largest voluntary bar association would be derelict if did not respond to the present circumstance by overtly supporting Bianco over a zealot who repudiates basic and treasured constitutional precepts.
Copyright 2008, Metropolitan News Company