Monday, March 25, 2002
Judge Who Ruled Against State Bar in Brosterhous Case Named to U.S. Bench
By a MetNews Staff Writer
A Sacramento Superior Court judge who ruled that the State Bar had violated the First Amendment by improperly using dues money for political purposes was nominated Friday to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California.
Judge Morrison C. England Jr., 47, was tapped by President Bush to fill the vacancy created when Judge Lawrence Karlton took senior status. England was the only Californian among six candidates whose names were sent to the Senate on Friday.
Marian Johnston, a Sacramento attorney who was the state’s top civil rights enforcer under former Attorney General John Van de Kamp, had been nominated for the seat by then-President Clinton. Her nomination died without a hearing after the 2000 elections.
England ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in 1999 in Brosterhous v. State Bar, holding that a number of activities funded by the State Bar 10 years earlier constituted political advocacy under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Keller v. State Bar.
Among the activities England found subject to objection were the Conference of Delegates, the Office of Bar Services, the Bar Leaders Conference, a mentoring program for minority lawyers, all lobbying in Washington, D.C., and programs such as Volunteers in Parole, where lawyers act “not as lawyers, but as caring members of society,” the judge said.
The State Bar dropped its appeal of England’s ruling last year, explaining that since it had made substantial changes in how it funds its activities, there was no point to further litigation. The final chapter in Brosterhous was written last July, when the State Bar agreed to pay $900,000 to settle Pacific Legal Foundation’s $2.3 million claim for attorney fees for representing the 43 lawyers who sued.
England is Bush’s first nominee for the Eastern District court, whose jurisdiction covers 34 counties. He was one of three candidates recommended for the post by a bipartisan committee appointed by Bush’s chief California adviser, West Los Angeles attorney/investment banker Gerald Parsky, and U.S. Sens. Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer, according to a report in the Sacramento Bee.
The others were U.S. Magistrate Judge Lawrence O’Neill and Sacramento attorney Louise B. Gilbert, the Bee reported last November. O’Neill was considered the favorite for the post, the newspaper said, based on strong Republican party ties and strong support among Republicans in his hometown of Fresno.
England graduated from McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento in 1983, joining a Sacramento firm where he became a name partner. The firm name was Quattrin, Johnson, Kampora & England when he left to become a Sacramento County Municipal Court judge in 1996.
Then-Gov. Pete Wilson elevated him to the Superior Court the following year.
Also tapped by Bush on Friday were:
•Henry E. Autrey to be U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Missouri;
•David S. Cercone to be U.S. district judge for the Western District of Pennsylvania;
•Richard E. Dorr to be U.S. district judge for the Western District of Missouri;
•Timothy J. Savage to be U.S. district judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; and
•Amy J. St. Eve to be U.S. district judge for the Northern District of Illinois.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company