Patterico's Pontifications


Patterico’s Los Angeles County Superior Court Election Recommendations

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:51 pm

Many of you have asked for my input on L.A. County judge races. It’s been a while since I did these, but I’ll say what I said the last time I made such recommendations. First, no disrespect is intended to anyone I am not recommending. I know some people better than others. Even with people I know, there can be reasons I am reluctant to make a public statement. Maybe I know both candidates in race, for example, and do not want to choose between them. Also, I have based my opinions not just on my own personal knowledge, but on candidates’ reputations among people I trust, including but not limited to the good or bad opinion of Mrs. P. As before, this is not a “vote for any Deputy D.A.” set of recommendations, but rather a recommendation for (or in some cases against) specific people.

I am a big fan of the Met News, by the way. I think all of my recommendations line up with theirs. Where I don’t make one, feel free to check them out. They’re certainly more reliable than the L.A. Times.

I’ll make the recommendations in order of how much I care about how you vote, with the more significant ones earlier.

Office No. 93: Victor Avila

Vic is running unopposed, but give him your vote anyway. He’s the candidate I know best. I used to work with him in Central Trials. He’s a great lawyer: honest, and not full of himself. Just a wonderful guy.

Office No. 48: Renee Rose

Mrs. P knows Rose and thinks very highly of her. Ericka Wiley has had a lot of TV ads, but here’s what the Met News has to say about her:

The candidacy of the third aspirant, Deputy Public Defender Ericka J. Wiley, is worthy of note, and prompt rejection. She’s a member of a triad known as the “Defenders of Justice,” financed by monied interests with radical leanings.

Independence of the judiciary is a cause that is sullied and frustrated where there are judges who lack independence from advocacy groups that seek to veer the focus of the judiciary from what the Legislature has ordained to be policy to what those groups want to establish, instead.

Wiley and her two teammates in the “Defenders of Justice” — Deputy Public Defender George A. Turner, a candidate for Office No. 37, and private practitioner La Shae Henderson, running for Office No. 97 — are pawns in a movement that seeks to place them on the bench to carry on its mission. They should be blocked by voters from gaining judgeships.


Office No. 12: Lynn Olsen

This recommendation is not because I think Olsen qualified, but because her opponent Haymon has an absolutely horrific reputation. This opinion is based on things I have heard from people I know, and more. The Met News quotes numerous judges saying she is rude, not smart, routinely late, and has an offensive personality. The article says:

In any event, it is readily apparent that Haymon is unfit to be a judge. She is running because Olson found her in contempt for prattling on after she had been told to be quiet, continuing to allude without warrant to unrelated and irrelevant proceedings, uttering insulting allegations, and, in general, acting like an undisciplined brat.

In the course of a diatribe at a preliminary hearing, she told Olson:

“You want to hold me in contempt because you don’t like me.”

We don’t know if she stamped her foot in uttering that line. The challenger evidently lacks maturity.

I could go on, but enough said.

Office No. 97: Sharon Ransom

Ransom has a good reputation, and seems more experienced than the other Deputy District Attorney in the race. Her other opponent, La Shae Henderson, is one of the triumvirate of defense activists mentioned above in the discussion of Office No. 48.

Office No. 130: Leslie Gutierrez

I mean, one of her opponents is Chris Darden. From the O.J. case. The guy who decided out of nowhere to ask O.J. to put on the glove. Nope. I have appeared in court with him. He did not strike me as impressive, which did not surprise me. The other guy is some random unimpressive defense lawyer.

Office No. 135: Steven Mac

Of the two Deputy District Attorneys running, my assessment is that Mac has a stronger reputation. The Met News concurs. The other guy is a nobody.

Office No. 137: Tracey Blount

The Met News says: “In this field of four candidates, Tracey M. Blount stands out as the only one fit for judicial office; we endorse her.” That analysis seems right to me.

Office No. 39: Jacob Lee

He is (rather tepidly) endorsed by the Met News. I’m not wild about the recommendation and I don’t know Lee, but the endorsement is good enough for me. One of his opponents, George A. Turner Jr., is the third member of the triumvirate of defense activists mentioned earlier.

Office No. 115: no recommendation.

I know both candidates too well. The Met News endorses Keith Koyano but says both deserve to be judges. I can’t choose between them on this blog.

As for any remaining offices, it’s complicated. That’s all I will say. Again, the Met News has endorsements. You can’t go wrong following their advice.

Just a reminder to vote for John McKinney for District Attorney.

Good luck in your choices on other races.

Supreme Court: Trump To Remain On Presidential Primary Ballot Nationwide, Section 3 Responsibility of Congress

Filed under: General — Dana @ 9:28 am

[guest post by Dana]

[Pressed for time…a really quick post on today’s ruling]

The opinion that Trump cannot be disqualified by the Colorado Supreme Court was **unanimous:

For the reasons given, responsibility for enforcing Section 3 against federal officeholders and candidates rests with Congress and not the States. The judgment of the Colorado 13 Cite as: 601 U. S. ____ (2024) Per Curiam Supreme Court therefore cannot stand. All nine Members of the Court agree with that result. Our colleagues writing separately further agree with many of the reasons this opinion provides for reaching it. See post, Part I (joint opinion of SOTOMAYOR, KAGAN, and JACKSON, JJ.); see also post, p. 1 (opinion of BARRETT, J.). So far as we can tell, they object only to our taking into account the distinctive way Section 3 works and the fact that Section 5 vests in Congress the power to enforce it. These are not the only reasons the States lack power to enforce this particular constitutional provision with respect to federal offices. But they are important ones, and it is the combination of all the reasons set forth in this opinion—not, as some of our colleagues would have it, just one particular rationale—that resolves this case. In our view, each of these reasons is necessary to provide a complete explanation for the judgment the Court unanimously reaches. The judgment of the Colorado Supreme Court is reversed. The mandate shall issue forthwith.

The justices were less concerned about Trump’s role in the insurrection, and instead repeatedly posed hypotheticals about “the effects of a ruling that would amount to a historic intervention in the American political system”:

They reiterated those lines of inquiry in the opinion, denying the states such vast authority over national elections that could theoretically be wielded even after a winner had been seated.

“The ‘patchwork’ that would likely result from state enforcement would ‘sever the direct link that the Framers found so critical between the National Government and the people of the United States’ as a whole. But in a Presidential election ‘the impact of the votes cast in each State is affected by the votes cast’ – or, in this case, the votes not allowed to be cast – ‘for the various candidates in other States,’” they wrote.

“An evolving electoral map could dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and States across the country, in different ways and at different times,” they continued. “The disruption would be all the more acute – and could nullify the votes of millions and change the election result – if Section 3 enforcement were attempted after the Nation has voted. Nothing in the Constitution requires that we endure such chaos – arriving at any time or different times, up to and perhaps beyond the Inauguration.”

From the Court’s liberal justices:

“The American people have the power to vote for and elect candidates for national office, and that is a great and glorious thing. The men who drafted and ratified the Fourteenth Amendment, however, had witnessed an ‘insurrection [and] rebellion’ to defend slavery. They wanted to ensure that those who had participated in that insurrection, and in possible future insurrections, could not return to prominent roles. Today, the majority goes beyond the necessities of this case to limit how Section 3 can bar an oathbreaking insurrectionist from becoming President. Although we agree that Colorado cannot enforce Section 3, we protest the majority’s effort to use this case to define the limits of federal enforcement of that provision. Because we would decide only the issue before us, we concur only in the judgment.”

Our host discussed the matter of the 14th Amendment provision here:

…the default opinion of many…seems to be as follows:

Yes, it looks like the 14th Amendment, read properly, disqualifies Trump from being elected president. Legislative history shows members of Congress discussing the fact that it applies to the presidency. Arguments about the difference between the oath taken by the president and by Congressional members and executive officers are plainly silly, as the wording of the Article II oath covers supporting the Constitution. Section 3 is obviously self-executing as much as section 1 is, and the fact that it provides a way for Congress to “remove” a disability means the disability is there until removed. Trump engaged in insurrection, as the historical interpretations cover incitement as engagement. And it’s not a political question. But . . .

But it can’t be enforced, obviously, no matter what the law actually says, because that would make people Big Mad. And make the Court look bad. And so it’s important not only Section 3 not be enforced, but that the idea of its enforcement be resoundingly rejected in a manner that appears non-partisan.

I just think that’s a weird position: that yes, the law is clear, but it can’t be enforced because, well, of course it can’t! And yet a lot of smart people on both sides say this. Enough that I think it is fair to call it the default position of smart lawyers.

And so we know that the Court will twist themselves (and the law) into pretzels to do the “adult” thing that preserves their perceived institutional legitimacy and keeps people from being Big Mad and maybe rioting or worse. And if that means pretending the law is something other than it is, well, we all have to be adults!

I dissent. I think the law here is clear and should be applied, and the public reaction and the institutional concerns about the Court’s legitimacy be damned.

I know my view will never win the day. But it should.


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