Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Thursday, July 3, 2014


Page 1


Confirmation Hearings Set for Four C.A. Nominees


By a MetNews Staff Writer


The state Commission on Judicial Appointments will convene on July 17 to consider four Court of Appeal nominations announced by Gov. Jerry Brown last weekend, the commission said yesterday in a press release.

The commission will meet at the Ronald George State Office Complex in San Francisco.

 It will consider the nominations of Court of Appeal Justice James Humes to be presiding justice of the First District’s Div. One at 9 a.m., San Francisco Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart to be associate justice in the First District’s Div. Two at 11 a.m., Justice Frances Rothschild to be presiding justice of this district’s Div. One at 1:30 p.m., and U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins to be associate justice in Div. Four at 3:30 p.m.

The four are among six potential appointees whose names were released by the governor. The others are Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Lee S. Edmon—tapped to succeed Joan Dempsey Klein as presiding justice of this district’s Div. Three—and Brian M. Hoffstadt, who would succeed retired Justice Kathryn Doi Todd in Div. Two.

Edmon cannot be formally appointed to Klein’s post because Klein—who told the MetNews recently that she would not seek another term because she cannot, at age 90, commit to staying on  another 12 years—still holds it. Once the filing deadline for the retention election expires next month, Edmon can be nominated and, if approved by the commission and by the voters in November, would succeed Klein in January and be entitled to a full 12-year term.

The state Constitution lays out the procedure for replacing a justice who does not seek retention for a new term. It also specifies that a gubernatorial appointment to the Supreme Court or the Court of Appeal is “effective when confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.”

No explanation was given for the lack of scheduling of a hearing for Hoffstadt. The Governor’s Office referred a request for clarification to the commission, whose spokesperson did not return a phone call late yesterday.

The delay could have something to do with the fact that Todd’s term, like Klein’s, is expiring in January, although the seat has been vacant for nearly 18 months.

The commission consists of the chief justice, the attorney general, and the presiding justice of the Court of Appeal of the affected district or, if there are two or more presiding justices, the one who has presided longest or, for a nomination to the Supreme Court, the presiding justice who has presided longest as a presiding justice on any Court of Appeal.

Klein is the senior presiding justice in the state, having helmed Div. Three since 1978. J. Anthony Kline of Div. Two is the senior presiding justice in the First District.

Both Klein and Kline were appointed by Brown during his initial tenure as governor.

The commission explained the process for comment on the nominations in its release.

Written comments, as well as requests to testify in person, are due by 5 p.m. next Thursday to Commission on Judicial Appointments, c/o Chief Justice of California, Supreme Court of California, 350 McAllister Street, San Francisco, California 94102, Attention: Secretary to the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Requests to testify must be accompanied by a summary of the facts on which the testimony will be based, the release said.

Humes, the first openly gay appellate justice in California, served as Brown’s executive secretary for legal affairs, administration and policy from early 2011 until Brown appointed him to the First District’s Div. Four in 2012.

While chief deputy attorney general under Brown, Humes supervised a staff of 5,300, including 1,100 lawyers. He played a key role in then-Attorney General Brown’s unsuccessful challenge of Proposition 8 before the California Supreme Court.

Humes previously served in multiple positions at the California Department of Justice, including chief assistant of the civil division and senior assistant attorney general of the health, education and welfare section.

Stewart has held her present post since 2002. She was a director at Howard Rice Nemerovski Canady Falk and Rabkin PC from 1988 to 2002, and an associate there from 1982 to 1988.

Rothschild was appointed to Div. One in 2005. She was a Los Angeles Superior Court judge from 1978 to 2005 and a Los Angeles Municipal Court judge from 1975 to 1978. She was of counsel at Bodle Fogel Julber Reinhardt and Rothschild from 1972 to 1975, an associate of that firm from 1967 to 1968, and an attorney at the California State University and Colleges Office of General Counsel from 1968 to 1972.

Collins has been a federal judge since 1994, and was chief judge of the Central District from 2009 to 2012. She was assistant district attorney of Los Angeles County from 1992 to 1994, having been a deputy district attorney from 1978 to 1992. Collins was a staff attorney at the Legal Aid Foundation of Los Angeles from 1977 to 1978.


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