Wednesday, March 17, 2010
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 35
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 73
Los Angeles Superior Court Office No. 131
Three dedicated, able, and hard-working judges have drawn election challenges in the June 8 primary.
Each of the jurists was appointed to the bench, after an intensive investigation by the Governor’s Office, the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, the Los Angeles County Bar Assn.’s Judicial Appointments Committee, and a local blue-ribbon group of gubernatorial advisors.
Mistakes in judicial appointments are sometimes made. As to Judges Soussan Bruguera, Laura Matz, and Maren Nelson, there was no error. None of them is cranky, lazy, or deficient in legal knowledge. There is no arguable basis for a challenge to any of these three.
Bruguera was a deputy attorney general when she was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1989 by Gov. George Deukmejian. She became a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in 2000 through unification, and has served that court with extreme conscientiousness.
It was Gov. Pete Wilson who gave Matz her judicial appointment. She was placed on the Glendale Municipal Court in 1996, after spending 15 years as a civil litigator. Matz was elevated through unification. She is diplomatic, and renders reasoned rulings and judgments.
Nelson, after 17 years with the prestige law firm of Morrison and Foerster, was in 2004 elected by judges of the Los Angeles Superior Court as a commissioner. A testament to her skill as a bench officer is her appointment to a judgeship by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger 14 months ago. She handles family law cases and is highly regarded among members of the bar practicing in that area.
In light of the faithful performance by the incumbents, there’s no need to look at the competing credentials of their challengers for endorsement purposes. No judge should be turned out of office, as we see it, absent a deficiency in carrying out the duties of office.
It is, however, noteworthy as to the types of persons who would launch a challenge to a proficient jurist, causing that office-holder anxiety and forcing him or her to expend personal funds to hold onto the post.
Douglas W. Weitzman, a realtor with a law license, is challenging Bruguera. He has unsuccessfully run for a judgeship twice before, each time being branded by the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. as “not qualified,” an assessment in which we concur.
Marvin G. Fischler is running against Matz, who sits in Glendale. He targeted her because he would like a Glendale seat, and has the notion that if he beats her, he would automatically be assigned to Glendale. This speaks volumes about his knowledge of the post he seeks.
Nelson's challenger is Jim Garo Baklayan, an obscure figure in the legal community who has an office in the hotel his family owns near the Magic Castle in Hollywood. The extent of his practice is not known—but his mother says he would make a good judge. We are unaware of any other endorsements of him.
Three capable judges are challenged by three individuals whose candidacies are farcical, whose prospects of gaining an appointment to the bench are probably sub-zero.
We wholeheartedly endorse the election of Judges Bruguera, Matz and Nelson.
Copyright 2010, Metropolitan News Company