Cruz Reynoso - Judiciary Career - Ouster From The Supreme Court - Impact of The Ouster Campaign

Impact of The Ouster Campaign

The 1986 California Supreme Court retention election started a major trend turning such elections into "an ideological battleground over judicial philosophies and specific decisions", making them "as highly salient as races for overtly political offices", wrote one academic paper. Even before the election, California Supreme Court Justice Otto Kaus remarked "You cannot forget the fact that you have a crocodile in your bathtub", referring to the act of making a judicial decision without regard to the potential political consequences. "You know it's there, and you try not to think about it, but it's hard to think about much else while you're shaving." "You keep wondering whether you're letting yourself be influenced, and you do not know. You do not know yourself that well," he wrote. "You worry about it in two different ways," wrote Reynoso; "First you worry it might influence you improperly. Then you worry because you're concerned you might overcompensate, and not pay enough attention to arguments that are perfectly legitimate."

Erwin Chemerinsky, a law professor from the University of Southern California, agreed with the ousted Justice Grodin, saying "the legacy of 1986 could be that justices facing retention elections will decide cases with an eye, perhaps subconsciously, on how their rulings will affect their chances at the polls." Chemerinsky called for abolishing judicial-review elections. He wrote, "Largely due to defects in a poorly worded death penalty law, the court had a strikingly one-sided pattern of decisions on the issue", noting that this, Bird's controversial history, the trio's appointments by an unpopular governor, and the realization by their opponents that the court's ideology could be completely changed if the campaign succeeded lead to the opposition campaign. Jazon Czarnezki, assistant professor of law at Marquette University, attributed Bird's defeat to "her resolute opposition to the death penalty and overturning a series of death sentences". Exit polls indicated that the death-penalty issue was the major reason why voters refused to retain the justices.

The justices were also impacted by a lack of support from Democratic legislative incumbents in safe districts.

Despite the fact that California Supreme Court justices undergoing a retention election are running uncontested, the median spending for justices' campaigns rose from $3,177 in 1976 to $70,000 in 1994.

Campaigns similar to the one expelling Bird, Grodin, and Reynoso have since been mounted against judges in other states, such as Justice Penny J. White of Tennessee, who also lost a retention election due to a death-penalty issue. Retired California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald George advocated eliminating retention elections and appointing justices to single 15-year terms, following an election in Iowa where three justices were removed from office after that state's high court overturned a ban on same-sex marriage. The campaign was largely funded by out-of-state organizations; George said that the January 2010 United States Supreme Court ruling allowing corporations and unions to contribute unlimited sums to independent political committees was likely to increase the influence of well-funded groups in nonpartisan judicial retention elections like those in Iowa and California.

Read more about this topic:  Cruz Reynoso, Judiciary Career, Ouster From The Supreme Court

Famous quotes containing the words impact of the, impact of, campaign and/or impact:

    The question confronting the Church today is not any longer whether the man in the street can grasp a religious message, but how to employ the communications media so as to let him have the full impact of the Gospel message.
    Pope John Paul II (b. 1920)

    Television does not dominate or insist, as movies do. It is not sensational, but taken for granted. Insistence would destroy it, for its message is so dire that it relies on being the background drone that counters silence. For most of us, it is something turned on and off as we would the light. It is a service, not a luxury or a thing of choice.
    David Thomson, U.S. film historian. America in the Dark: The Impact of Hollywood Films on American Culture, ch. 8, William Morrow (1977)

    The war on privilege will never end. Its next great campaign will be against the privileges of the underprivileged.
    —H.L. (Henry Lewis)

    Television does not dominate or insist, as movies do. It is not sensational, but taken for granted. Insistence would destroy it, for its message is so dire that it relies on being the background drone that counters silence. For most of us, it is something turned on and off as we would the light. It is a service, not a luxury or a thing of choice.
    David Thomson, U.S. film historian. America in the Dark: The Impact of Hollywood Films on American Culture, ch. 8, William Morrow (1977)