Mark Pulliam, an attorney who covered the California Supreme Court from 1993 to 2003 as the legal issues correspondent for California Political Review, has blasted California Governor Jerry Brown’s selection of Leondra Kruger for the Supreme Court.
Pulliam writes in the City Journal–a magazine former Secretary of Education William Bennett has called “one of the best things in the entire intellectual conservative movement”–that Brown made his choice based on three criteria: “ a Yale law degree, a prominent post in a Democratic presidential administration, and a desire to place one’s hands on the levers of judicial power.”
Pulliam points out that Kruger, 38, has never even served as a judge, and that she has a paucity of private sector experience. Kruger would be the state’s youngest Supreme Court member in its history. Pulliam notes:”She barely meets the state constitutional requirement that judges be members of the state bar for at least ten years.” The Los Angeles Times reported Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen calling the appointment a “mind blower.”
Service as a trial-court judge has long been considered an essential prerequisite for appointment to the appellate bench. With his last three appointments to the California Supreme Court (and the recent appointment of Therese Stewart to the First District Court of Appeal), Brown has discarded that standard … The tendency toward judicial activism is greater for younger appointees because law schools have become increasingly politicized and the dominant philosophy of “legal realism” encourages recent graduates to view the law as a malleable instrument to accomplish politically desirable ends.
Pulliam notes Kruger’s radicals: she argued the case Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. EEOC, and fought for terminating “ministerial exception” to anti-discrimination laws, thus leaving religious organizations liable for their hiring and firing of ordained personnel. Her point of view was soundly defeated; the Court ruled unanimously against her.
Pulliam concludes with the frightening warning: “The Rose Bird era of unrestrained activism may seem tame in hindsight.”