Tuesday, October 23, 2001
Perluss, Mosk, Rubin Unanimously Confirmed to Appeals Court
By a MetNews Staff Writer
The Court of Appeal for this district inched towards full strength yesterday after three new justices were confirmed and sworn in.
Chief Justice Ronald M. George administered the oath of office, in separate ceremonies at the Ronald Reagan Building downtown, to Richard M. Mosk, Dennis Perluss, and Laurence D. Rubin after the Commission on Judicial Appointments gave each of them its unanimous approval.
Mosk has been serving as a full-time arbitrator since leaving his Century City firm last year, while Perluss and Rubin were both elevated from the Los Angeles Superior Court.
Mosk joins Div. Five, where he succeeds the late Ramona Godoy Perez. Perluss goes to Div. Seven, filling the seat from which Justice Richard Neal retired in February.
Rubin becomes the first member of Div. Eight, which was created last year by the Legislature.
Div. Eight Incomplete
The other three seats on that division remain vacant—the only vacancies on the district—but two of them are expected to be filled next month. The commission is set to hold confirmation hearings for Div. Two Justice Candace Cooper, nominated to be the division’s presiding justice, and Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Paul Boland, who would join Rubin as an associate justice, on Nov. 21.
The governor hasn’t made a nomination for the fourth seat.
Yesterday’s confirmations were quick and easy, in contrast to the last such event which occurred at the Reagan Building.
Earlier this month, the commission unanimously confirmed San Diego Superior Court Judge Judith McConnell’s elevation to the Fourth District’s Div. One. But it did so only after a San Diego attorney accused the judge—without foundation, the commission members said—of being tied to a scandal which resulted in three judges being forced from the bench and convicted of felonies.
But yesterday, there was no opposition to any nominee, and Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation Chair Pauline Weaver reported that all three of Gov. Gray Davis’ choices received the highest possible rating, “exceptionally well qualified.”
Mosk, who has been serving on the U.S.-Iran Claims Tribunal, was praised as a nominee with “a wide range of life experiences” by former U.S. Secretary of State Warren Christopher. The 62-year-old son of the late Supreme Court Justice Stanley Mosk was also lauded by Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of this district’s Div. Six, who predicted that “focused and precise” opinions will be the hallmark of Mosk’s career.
New York lawyer Harold Holtzmann, who served with Mosk on the claims tribunal, said it was Mosk’s “irresistible collegiality,” as well as his professional ability, that made him an influential member of the arbitral body, made up of three Americans, three Iranians, and three members from neutral nations.
Also speaking on Mosk’s behalf was Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Frances Rothschild.
Witnesses praised Perluss, 53, for his intellect. He has been a member of the Superior Court since his appointment by Davis in 1999, and was previously a partner in Morrison & Foerster.
UCLA Vice Chancellor Joseph D. Mandel and Los Angeles attorney Pierce O’Donnell both praised Perluss for his willingness to take on significant constitutional cases, including some in which the views he espoused may not have been “politically correct,” as O’Donnell put it.
Mandel specifically mentioned Perluss’ successful defense of the university’s use of race as a factor in admissions to its special elementary school. Perluss argued that the government had a compelling interest in assuring a diverse student body at the school used by the university for research.
O’Donnell praised Perluss for his “commitment to social justice,” saying he was a worthy protégé of Judge Shirley Hufstedler, for whom they both clerked on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Perluss also clerked for the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart.
Ninth Circuit Judge Raymond C. Fisher and Los Angeles attorney Ronald L. Olson also testified in support of Perluss’ nomination.
Rubin, 54, drew strong support from three Court of Appeal justices who testified on his behalf, Presiding Justice Charles S. Vogel and Justice Norman Epstein of Div. Four and Cooper, the presiding justice-designate in Rubin’s new division.
Vogel said his division was fortunate to have had the services of Rubin, who has logged 13 months of service in four separate stints as a temporary justice. The first member of Div. Eight, he said, is a hard worker with a “warm and generous manner” and put a great deal of intellect and energy into opinion writing.
Turning to George, he quipped that none of Rubin’s opinions had been reversed, “which I can’t say for myself.”
Epstein kidded that Rubin, who was appointed by then-Gov. Jerry Brown to the Santa Monica Municipal Court in 1982, “looks far too young” to have been a judge for 20 years. He also praised Rubin’s skills as an author of opinions marked by “unbelabored logic” and said “it was just a pleasure working with him.”
Cooper, who worked in the same Santa Monica courthouse as Rubin when she was a Superior Court judge, noted that Rubin had helped bring about coordination of cases between the two trial courts there and had handled many complex Superior Court matters.
“He did all the hard work,” Cooper said.
Copyright 2001, Metropolitan News Company