Tuesday, May 26, 2015
Brown Names 74-Year Old, 37-Year Old to Court of Appeal
Former Justice Elwood Lui Is Twice the Age of Obama Administration Lawyer Lamar W. Baker; Superior Court Judge John Segal, 54, Also Gets Gubernatorial Nod
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Gov. Edmund G. Brown Jr. on Friday made three appointments to this district’s Court of Appeal, including a 74-year-old former member of that body and a 37-year-old Obama Administration attorney.
Neither the Governor’s Office nor the Judicial Council was able to say whether any younger person or any older person had ever been placed on the Court of Appeal, which has existed since 1905.
The governor named Jones Day attorney Elwood Lui, a septuagenarian who served on the appeals court from 1981-87, to Div. One; Lamar W. Baker, a special assistant and associate counsel to President Barack Obama, to Div. Five; and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge John L. Segal, 54, to Div. Seven.
ELWOOD G. LUI
Attorney, Former Justice
LAMAR W. BAKER
White House Associate Counsel
JOHN L. SEGAL
Los Angeles Superior Court Judge
If confirmed by the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments—comprised of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Senior Presiding Justice Paul Arthur Turner—Lui will replace Frances Rothschild, who was elevated last year to the post of presiding justice; Baker will take the seat previously occupied by Orville Armstrong, who retired (and subsequently died); and Segal will assume the office left vacant by the retirement of Frank Jackson.
Brown has, in recent years, appointed others in high and low age brackets. Then-U.S. Department of Justice lawyer Leondra Kruger was appointed last year to the California Supreme Court at the age of 38; Brown last year also appointed U.S. District Court Judge Audrey Collins, 69, to the Court of Appeal for this district, and elevated Rothschild, 69.
A person of such advanced age had not been appointed in the past 50 years. Brown’s father, Gov. Edmund G. Brown Sr., named Lester Wm. Roth an associate justice of the Court of Appeal for this district in 1963, when Roth was 68, and elevated him to the position of presiding justice of Div. Two the following year (where he served until 1991).
Lui has been of counsel at Jones Day since last year. Prior to that, he was a partner in the firm since 1987, upon departing from Div. Three of this district’s appeals court.
He was elevated to that court in 1981 from the Los Angeles Superior Court, on which he sat for a year. Lui was a member of the Los Angeles Municipal Court 1975-80.
His undergraduate degree, law degree, and master’s degree in business administration were earned at UCLA.
Lui was a deputy attorney general from 1969-71, an attorney with Mori and Katayama from 1971-75. and a sole practitioner in 1975.
Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of Div Six on Friday commented:
“Elwood Lui, who I have known for 40 years, is recognized by his colleagues as a judge and attorney of exceptional ability. He will once again distinguish himself as one of California’s finest jurists. And for the first time in our long history as judicial colleagues, I will have seniority.”
“All three nominees are excellent appointees who will bring a wealth of talent to the Court of Appeal.”
Former Los Angeles County Counsel Andrea Ordin had this reaction:
“It is terrific news that Elwood is returning to the Court of Appeal! He has exhibited intelligence, balance and thoughtful scholarship throughout his private and public careers, coupled with an uncommon commitment to public service. We are lucky to have him back.”
Retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Bruce Sottile hailed the selection of Lui as “a great appointment.”
Department of Justice
Baker has been a legal adviser to the president since last year. He held various posts in the Department of Justice in the District of Columbia since 2010, previously serving as U.S. Attorney for the Central District of California from 2005-10.
He was an associate at Strumwasser and Woocher LLP from 2002-05.
His law degree is from Yale, also the alma mater of the governor and his three most recent appointees to the California Supreme Court. Baker’s undergraduate degree is from Stanford University.
A press release from the Governor’s Office specifies:
“Baker was born and raised in the San Francisco area. He is a member of the State Bar of California.”
Attorney Michael Montgomery, a former chair of the state Republican Party, said Baker is “too young and lacks experience,” suggesting that he should serve as a trial court judge before being appointed to the appellate bench.
One prominent legal observer, noting Baker’s age, remarked:
“I’ve got neckties that are older than he is.”
Appointed in 2001
Segal has been a judge of the Los Angeles Superior Court since 2001, and recently served on assignment to the Court of Appeal. He was with the law firm of Mitchell, Silberberg and Knupp from 1988-2000, and was a partner there for his last five years.
His law degree is from USC and his undergraduate degree was conferred by Williams College.
One leading Los Angeles practitioner, John McNicholas of McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP, termed Segal “a scholarly, thorough, fair minded jurist—who listens.” The lawyer said he “always got a fair shake” in Segal’s court, and commented:
“He will bring credit to the Court of Appeal.”
Copyright 2015, Metropolitan News Company