Friday, September 7, 2001
Flier, Zelon Added to List of Contenders for Appeals Court Posts
By ROGER M. GRACE, Editor
Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Madeleine I. Flier and Laurie Zelon are in contention for appointment to the Court of Appeal for this district, a member of that court advised the MetNews yesterday.
The justice, who asked not to be identified, said he received questionnaires on the pair from the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation.
Flier, 61, is one of the Superior Court’s seniormost judges, while Zelon, 48, is among the newest. Davis, a Democrat, is basically focusing attention on potential appointees to appellate posts who were either placed on the trial bench by him, or by the last Democratic governor, Jerry Brown, who left office in January, 1983.
Brown appointed Flier to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1977 and elevated her in 1980 to the Superior Court. Davis gave Zelon her judgeship on April 17 of last year.
Flier, a graduate of what is now the University of La Verne College of Law, was admitted to practice in 1968, and was an assistant Los Angeles city attorney at the time of her appointment to the bench. Zelon, an alumnus of Harvard Law School, has been in practice since 1977—most recently with Morrison & Foerster—and was president of the Los Angeles County Bar Assn. in 1995-96.
With the submission of the two new names to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, Davis now has a list of 10 potential appointees to the six openings in Los Angeles divisions. Only two on that list received appointments during the 16 years, between Brown and Davis, when Republican governors were in power.
Of those two, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Judith Ashmann, a Democrat, was given an interim appointment on Aug. 22, 1986 by Republican Gov. George Deukmejian to the seat she had been elected to fill commencing Jan. 5, 1987. Brown had appointed her to the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1981.
The other Republican appointee on Davis’ list is Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Gregory Alarcon (son of Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Arthur Alarcon), who was placed on the Los Angeles Municipal Court in 1993 by Deukmejian and elevated to his present position in 1996 by then-Gov. Pete Wilson.
Others on List
Others on the list are Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Dennis M. Perluss—who is also in contention for a Supreme Court appointment—Los Angeles Superior Court Judges Paul Boland and Laurence D. Rubin, Ventura Superior Court Judge Melinda Johnson, and attorney Richard M. Mosk (son of the late Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk).
Perluss is a Davis appointee; Boland, Rubin and Johnson were awarded judgeships by Brown. Until recently, Perluss sat in traffic court; his potential appointment directly to the Supreme Court has reportedly sparked widespread resentment on the part of Superior Court colleagues.
The names of Boland and Johnson were submitted to the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation in 1999, and both jurists remain under active consideration, it has been learned. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ralph Dau, whose name was also submitted to the commission, is not in contention for an appointment, reliable sources have reported.
Johnson would be a likely replacement for Court of Appeal Justice Steven Perren, who sits on the Ventura-based Div. Six, should Perren be elevated to the Supreme Court. Davis’ office publicly announced Aug. 1 that Perluss and Perren are being considered for the vacancy created by the death of Justice Stanley Mosk, as well as U.S. District Judge Carlos Moreno and Fifth District Court of Appeal Justice Dennis Cornell.
Perluss, Perren and Cornell were all named to their current posts by Davis.
The JNE Commission met yesterday in Los Angeles to rate the four high court aspirants. The possible ratings are “exceptionally well qualified,” “well qualified,” “qualified,” and “not qualified.”
The Court of Appeal vacancies in Los Angeles are comprised of one in Div. Five (created by the death of. Justice Ramona Godoy Perez), one in Div. Seven (caused by the retirement of Justice Richard Neal), and four in the yet-to-be-formed Div. Eight, authorized by legislation. The anticipated appointment of Cooper as presiding justice of Div. Eight would create a vacancy in Div. Two, where she now sits as an associate justice, under a November 1999, appointment by Davis.
There are 18 vacancies on courts of appeal statewide, including the six here.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company