The Republican Party of Orange County’s Central Committee endorsed at their meeting last night:
It’s very difficult to learn the background and fundamental judicial philosophy of candidates for judge. For one thing, most candidates have never held public office before, so there is little public discourse or scrutiny of their political or philosophical positions available for review. Every voter wants to know if a candidate is conservative, liberal, or moderate. What are their personal beliefs and opinions on the current issues of the day: gay rights, immigration, terrorism, abortion, unions, guns… you name it. But judicial candidates are largely barred from sharing these opinions in California by the Judicial Canons.
Yet there is a “magic” question that all judicial candidates can freely answer, and that truly reveals a great deal about their approach to the law, justice, and many of those hot-button issues. Most simply: which United States Supreme Court Justice, living or dead, do you admire most and why? Continue reading
I originally referred to this as Orange County’s judicial circus, but things have radically changed. Now that the official dust has settled, let’s take another look at what now looks like a One Ring Extravaganza with assorted side shows and carny acts. Keep in mind, while most of you think judicial races are “meh,” in reality they are arguable more important than legislative races in Orange County. Judges are elected for SIX YEAR TERMS. They last awhile. And, since judges review lots of legislation from Sacramento and elsewhere, they have more impact on state law and policy than most people think.
So here is a recap — and a handicap prediction on these races. The calliope music is still playing, just a bit muted. Continue reading
Several changes developed in the OC judicial races yesterday.
Attorney Frederick Fascenelli has dropped out of both races (Seats 3 and 40) for which he originally pulled papers. According to people close to him, he has set his sights on the 2018 judicial race, and is already talking to media mavens about putting together a game plan. If he’s smart, he’ll follow candidate Mike Murray’s lead and start active campaigning before anyone else does. Surprisingly, a judicial candidate can file with the CA Secretary of State, open an official campaign committee, and even begin fundraising without choosing a specific seat to chase.
Loud word on the street is that District Attorney Scott Zidbeck is pulling out of the race for Seat 3. This is a surprise because retiring Judge Andler specifically anointed Zidbeck for her seat. This may be the first time a candidate, handpicked by the judge, joined the race then got cold feet and stumbled out. This is the kind of slap-in-the-face to Judge Andler that may doom any future shot Zidbeck has at the bench. Having paid his non-refundable filing fee of $1800 or so, he’ll be known as the guy who threw in the towel at the first bell of the match. Doesn’t show the perseverance or resilience a winning candidate needs. Continue reading
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Orange County’s judicial circus has abruptly expanded to five, count ‘em, five rings under the big top. You can already hear the calliope music playing. Let’s do the countdown: Continue reading
Senior OC homicide prosecutor Mike Murray has made no secret of his judicial ambitions. He started campaigning early, even without word of a definite seat. His banners have been spotted all over OC at some of the busiest intersections and freeway onramps. His latest coup was getting a big “Murray for Judge” banner up on Mike Harrah’s tall green fence on Main Street in Santa Ana that surrounds Harrah’s stalled “tallest building in OC” construction project. But Murray lucked out, as he filed for freshly open seat # 49 on Monday, given up for election by Judge Elaine Streger.
But two more seats opened up for election as well: Judge Gail Andler’s seat #3 and Judge Steven Perk’s seat #40. Not surprisingly several candidates have pulled papers entering the starting gate for both races. Continue reading