Despite Dept. of Elections Bungling Things, Here’s Our Endorsements for Judges

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First off, as the staff writer who puts these guides together, I’d like to apologize for completely missing these since I usually keep an eye out for judges. To be fair, though, the California Secretary of State’s office and San Francisco Department of Elections didn’t exactly make this specific part of the ballot easy to figure out. Although the two Supreme Court justices are featured in the back of the California General Election Guide, the formatting differs from the rest of the offices and doesn’t exactly pop out at you. Plus, they don’t exactly hint at the fact that there are any appellate court justices up for retention, and that it differs by where you live. SF DOE gets points for featuring the judges up for retention by San Francisco voters on the sample ballot, but that’s all they do. Basically, they’ve made these little land mines for you to trip onto come Election Day so you can have anxiety attack while you figure out who the hell these people are, and probably give up and either vote for all of them or none of them.

And COME ON! If anything recent events have taught us is that we definitely want a say in who gets to sit at the bench. Besides newly confirmed Justice Rapist, the Trump administration has appointed more right-wing whack jobs to the federal circuit courts than any other administration at this point in recent history. And whereas we may not be able to exactly control that siege, we most certainly can on a state level.

Another unsettling aspect of this nonsense is that the average voter really has to dig on some of these. Since, however, this is my job, I did a little recon and here’s some of what we found out and how we’re voting.

Also, like our main voter guide section, we are limiting our endorsements to San Francisco County voters. If you want some insights into candidates and props in surrounding areas like the East Bay, Peninsula, South Bay, etc. other guides provide some help like the Harvey Milk LGBTQ Democratic Club and KALW. Also, you live outside San Francisco, you can go here to find out which judges you are voting on.

Carol A. Corrigan, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California: NO

Well, the best thing we can say for Carol is that she is complex. Although reportedly a lesbian, she felt that she needed to dissent on California’s landmark re: Marriage Cases. To boot, she backs up her dissent with the wishy-washiest, simplistic, political drivel one could write. I suppose it should comes as no surprise that she was originally appointed by racist trash, Pete Wilson. Time to hang your robe up, girl.

Leondra R. Kruger, Associate Justice, Supreme Court of California: YES

And, on the flip side we have Justice Kruger. Formerly Principal Deputy Solicitor General for Barack Obama, she’s a woman of colour with an insane legal pedigree, she’s only forty-two, and was appointed by Governor Brown when she was only thirty-eight, making her the third youngest justice in California history. Still has more to do, but we think we can give her a chance yet.

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1, James M. Humes: YES

Also taking a different road than that of Justice Corrigan, we have Justice Humes who is the only openly gay sitting appellate justice, and was, in fact, one of the thousands of LGBTQ folks who got married in the brief window in 2008, before marriage equality became the law of the land. He is known for ruling this year that a potential employer can be held in violation of the Fair Housing & Employment Act by deterring a pregnant woman from applying for a job by telling her there were no openings. Yeah, we thought that would have already been a thing as well.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 1, Sandra Margulies: NO

Known to be exacting of those who appear before her, respected by her peers and a Democrat, Margulies was appointed by George Deukmejian to the Alameda County Municipal Court in 1985 and eventually to the First District by Gray Davis. The Democrat part has us saying, “yes”, but one of her rulings gives us pause. Back in 2013 she ruled that the cops should have even more freedom in conducting a warrantless blood draw if they pick you up. Giving the cops more ability to do things without your consent is not something this country, much less our state needs right now.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 2, James A. Richman: NO

Non-partisan that was appointed by Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006, he ruled against public worker pension protections.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 2, Marla Miller: UNDECIDED

Appointed by Governor Brown in 2014, Justice Miller has us feeling a little conflicted. She ruled in favour of putting Proposition B “No Wall on the Waterfront” on the ballot, but then she also handed landlords a coup by rescinding the 10-year waiting period after an Ellis Act eviction.

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 3, Peter John Siggins: YES

Not much on Justice Siggins aside from being a Democrat and Roman Catholic who worked under Schwarzenegger and was appointed to his current position by Brown. He did, however, oversee and expedite the court order that California had to reduce it’s prison population.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 4, John B. Streeter: YES

Appointed by Jerry Brown, Justice Streeter worked for many years as a lawyer winning cases against the feds and state, stopping car searches and racial profiling along with holding immigrants in detention without bail. This is exactly the kind of judge we need.

Associate Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 4, Alison M. Tucher: YES

Justice Tucher was appointed by Governor Brown this year, and has an extensive background in pro bono work as a lawyer representing and freeing the falsely convicted.

Presiding Justice Court of Appeal, District 1, Division 5, Barbara J.R. Jones: YES

Although appointed by Wilson as well, Justice Jones has a good record on protections. She ruled against contractors who let the licensing lapse during a job and tried to protect the identities of the Raiderettes who sued the Raiders for wage theft and won per her ruling.

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Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen Torres - Threadbare-Fact Finder (Editor, San Francisco)

Stephen's early years were spent in a boxcar overlooking downtown Los Angeles. From there he moved around the state with his family before settling under the warm blanket of smog that covers suburban Southern California. Moving around led to his inability to stay in one place for very long, but San Francisco has been reeling him back in with its siren song since 1999.
By trade he pours booze, but likes to think he can write and does so occasionally for the SF Bay Guardian, Bold Italic and 7x7. He also likes to enjoy time spent in old eateries, bars and businesses that, by most standards, would have been condemned a long time ago.