Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, August 12, 2010


Page 1


Schwarzenegger Nominates Justices for Three Courts of Appeal


By STEVEN M. ELLIS, Staff Writer


 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger yesterday nominated Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Brad R. Hill to become the court’s presiding justice, tapped Riverside Superior Court Judge Carol D. Codrington to join the Fourth District’s Div. Two and named Sacramento Superior Court Louis R. Mauro to the Third District.

If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Mauro can be sworn in immediately, but Hill and Codrington will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot in their respective districts. If approved by voters, the two could then be sworn in Jan. 3, a Judicial Council spokesperson told the MetNews.

The commission said yesterday that it has scheduled public hearings Wednesday, Aug. 25 in the Supreme Court Courtroom at the Earl Warren Building at 350 McAllister Street in San Francisco to consider all three nominations. Hearings are scheduled at 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 2 p.m., respectively, for Mauro, Hill and Codrington.

The commission is already scheduled to hold a hearing that day on the nomination of Third District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to be the next chief justice of California.

Deadline for Comments

The commission is soliciting comments and testimony on the nominations. The deadline for written comments and requests to testify in person is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 18. Requests to speak must include a statement whether the witness will be testifying in support or opposition to the nomination, and provide a summary of the proposed testimony, the facts upon which it is based and its relevance to the nominee’s qualifications. 

The commission requested that correspondence be addressed to the chief justice at the Supreme Court, 350 McAllister St., San Francisco, CA 94102.

The California Constitution specifies that a gubernatorial appointment to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal is effective when confirmed by the commission.

Hill, 56, has served as an associate justice of the Fifth District since 2006. He served as a Fresno Superior Court judge from 1998 until he joined the Court of Appeal and as a judge for the Fresno Municipal Court from 1991 to 1998.

A Republican, Hill was a partner and associate for McCormick, Barstow, Sheppard, Wayte and Carruth from 1983 to 1991. He graduated from California State University, Fresno and UC Hastings College of the Law.

Panel Members

Members of the Commission on Judicial Appointments who will consider Hill’s nomination are Chief Justice Ronald M. George, the commission’s chair; Attorney General Jerry Brown; and Fifth District Presiding Justice James A. Ardaiz.

Schwarzenegger nominated Hill to succeed Ardaiz, who said in June that he was stepping down when his term ends Jan. 2 rather than seeking retention to another 12-year term. Ardaiz said he was doing so to avoid a provision in the state Constitution that would bar him from accepting any other public posts if he stepped down before that term concluded in early 2023.

He also said he was announcing his retirement at that time to give Schwarzenegger adequate time to name a successor. Article VI, Sec. 16 of the California Constitution requires that the nominee be vetted by the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments prior to Sept. 16.

If confirmed by then, Hill will appear on the Nov. 2 ballot. If not, the power to name the next presiding justice will go to whoever succeeds Schwarzenegger as governor in January. That currently is most likely Brown, the Democratic nominee, or former eBay CEO Meg Whitman, the Republican nominee.

Codrington, 50, was tapped to replace Justice Barton C. Gaut, who retired Feb. 28. The governor did not nominate anyone to serve the last 11 months of Gaut’s term, so Codrington would have to wait until the new term begins in January before taking office.

Like Hill, she must be confirmed by Sept. 16 and approved by voters in November or the power to name Gaut’s successor will go to the next governor.

Members of the Commission on Judicial Appointments who will consider Codrington’s nomination are George, Brown and the presiding justice of the Fourth District’s Div. Two: Manuel A. Ramirez. Ramirez is serving on the commission due to the unavailability of Div. Three Presiding Justice David Sills, the Fourth District’s senior presiding justice, a spokesperson for the chief justice explained.

Codrington joined the Riverside Superior Court in 2007 after becoming a court commissioner the previous year. She was a sole practitioner from 2004 to 2006 and an associate general counsel for the Los Angeles Unified School District from 2001 to 2004.

A Republican, she worked as a Los Angeles deputy city attorney from 1999 to 2001, and she was a director for the Western Law Center for Disability Rights from 1997 to 2000.

Codrington is a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Loyola Law School. She was an associate for Burke, Robinson and Pearman from 1986 to 1989, and an associate and then partner for Mallory and Brown-Curtis from 1989 to 1997.

Mauro, 49, joined the Sacramento Superior Court last year, and before that was Schwarzenegger’s chief deputy legal affairs secretary beginning in 2006.

He worked for the California Attorney General’s Office as senior assistant attorney general, supervising deputy attorney general and deputy attorney general from 1994 to 2006. He also was an associate for Boutin Gibson Law Firm from 1993 to 1994 and for Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher from 1988 to 1993, and served as a staff attorney for the California Supreme Court from 1987 to 1988.

Registered decline-to-state, Mauro attended UC Santa Barbara and UC Davis School of Law. If confirmed, he will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of Justice Fred K. Morrison in January 2009.

Members of the Commission on Judicial Appointments who will consider Mauro’s nomination are George, Brown and Third District Presiding Justice Arthur G. Scotland, who said last month that he will retire Sept. 17.

Compensation for the position to which Hill has been named is $212,783, while compensation for the other positions is $204,599.

In other news, Schwarzenegger yesterday named Assistant U.S. Attorney Richard Y. Lee of the Central District of California to the Orange Superior Court, and Santa Barbara County Deputy District Attorney Patricia L. Kelly to the Santa Barbara Superior Court.

Lee, 38, has served in the U.S. Attorney’s Office since 2001, and was previously an associate for Paul, Hastings, Janofsky and Walker from 1998 to 2001, and a research attorney for the Los Angeles Superior Court from 1997 to 1998. He is a Republican.

Kelly, 42, was a Riverside County deputy district attorney from 1994 until 2005. She is a Democrat.

Compensation for the positions is $178,789.


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