Federal Court Nominees Part 4: Janice Rogers Brown

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Not that it matters after the deal the democrats and republicans struck yesterday in regards to the filibuster and Judicial nominees, but since the other two judges that have a green light are here on the website, let's take a look at number three: Janice Rogers Brown.
In 1993 then governor of California Pete Wilson submitted Justice Brown's name as a potential successor for the vacancy on the California Supreme Court. The California Judicial Nominees Evaluation (JNE) Commission rated Justice Brown not qualified. After serving on the California Court of Appeals which considers a narrower list of criteria for judges, Justice Brown was nominated again in 1996 for the California Supreme Court making her the first ever nominee with a not qualified rating from the JNE Commission. Justice Brown once again received a not qualified rating from the JNE Commission but was confirmed by a three member panel to the California Supreme Court. This was despite two not qualified ratings from the JNE Commission and the fact that during her enitre tenure on the court of appeals she published only 6 of the 155 cases she presided over. Its worth noting here that California Constitution required judges on the state supreme court and courts of appeals to be approved by voters at the first election after confirmation. Judges run unopposed and only need to receive a majority of the vote to stay on the court.
There are too many cases and opinions from Justice Brown to list, so here are some quotes from her speeches regarding her rulings:
"Some things are apparent. Where government moves in, community retreats, civil society disintegrates and our ability to control our own destiny atrophies. The result is: families under siege; war in the streets; unapologetic expropriation of property; the precipitous decline of the rule of law; the rapid rise of corruption; the loss of civility and the triumph of deceit. The result is a debased, debauched culture which finds moral depravity entertaining and virtue contemptible." [“A Whiter Shade of Pale,” Speech to Federalist Society (April 20. 2000)(“Federalist speech” at 8]
"Where government advances – and it advances relentlessly – freedom is imperiled; community impoverished; religion marginalized and civilization itself jeopardized....When did government cease to be a necessary evil and become a goody bag to solve our private problems?" [“Hyphenasia: the Mercy Killing of the American Dream,” Speech at Claremont-McKenna College (Sept. 16, 1999) at 3,4]
"[W]e no longer find slavery abhorrent. We embrace it. We demand more. Big government is not just the opiate of the masses. It is the opiate. The drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms; for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers and militant senior citizens." [IFJ speech at 3-4]
"My grandparents’ generation thought being on the government dole was disgraceful, a blight on the family’s honor. Today’s senior citizens blithely cannibalize their grandchildren because they have a right to get as much “free” stuff as the political system will permit them to extract...Big government is...[t]he drug of choice for multinational corporations and single moms, for regulated industries and rugged Midwestern farmers, and militant senior citizens." [IFJ speech at 2,3]
"I have argued that collectivism was (and is) fundamentally incompatible with the vision that undergirded this country’s founding. The New Deal, however, inoculated the federal Constitution with a kind of underground collectivist mentality. The Constitution itself was transmuted into a significantly different document...1937...marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution...Politically, the belief in human perfectibility is another way of asserting that differences between the few and the many can, over time, be erased. That creed is a critical philosophical proposition underlying the New Deal. What is extraordinary is the way that thesis infiltrated and effected American constitutionalism over the next three-quarters of a century. Its effect was not simply to repudiate, both philosophically and in legal doctrine, the framers’ conception of humanity, but to cut away the very ground on which the Constitution rests... In the New Deal/Great Society era, a rule that was the polar opposite of the classical era of American law reigned" [Federalist speech at 8, 10, 11, 12]
"[P]rivate property, already an endangered species in California, is now entirely extinct in San Francisco…I would find the HCO [San Francisco Residential Hotel Unit Conversion and Demolition Ordinance] preempted by the Ellis Act and facially unconstitutional. …Theft is theft even when the government approves of the thievery. Turning a democracy into a kleptocracy does not enhance the stature of the thieves; it only diminishes the legitimacy of the government. …The right to express one’s individuality and essential human dignity through the free use of property is just as important as the right to do so through speech, the press, or the free exercise of religion." [Dissenting opinion in San Remo Hotel L.P. v. City and County of San Francisco, 41 P.3d 87, 120, 128-9 (Cal. 2002)(upholding San Francisco ordinance calling on hotel owners seeking permission to eliminate residential units and convert to tourist hotels help replace lost rental units for low income, elderly, and disabled persons)][See also IFJ speech at 4 (warning that without effective limits on government, “a democracy is inevitably transformed into a Kleptocracy.”)]
"Politicians in their eagerness to please and to provide something of value to their constituencies that does not have a price tag are handing out new rights like lollipops in the dentist’s office." [Speech to Sacramento County bar Ass’n (May 1, 1996) at 6-7]
"[T]he courts overcame these alleged limitations on their powers with ridiculous ease. How? By constitutionalizing everything possible, finding constitutional rights which are nowhere mentioned in the Constitution. By taking a few words which are in the Constitution like “due process” and “equal protection” and imbuing them with elaborate and highly implausible etymologies; and by enunciating standards of constitutional review which are not standards at all but rather policy vetoes, i.e., strict scrutiny and the compelling state interest standard." [Libertarian speech at 7-8]
"The United States Supreme Court, however, began in the 1940s to incorporate the Bill of Rights into the 14th Amendment…The historical evidence supporting what the Supreme Court did here is pretty sketchy…The argument on the other side is pretty overwhelming that it’s probably not incorporated." [“Beyond the Abyss: Restoring Religion on the Public Square,” Speech to Pepperdine Bible Lectureship in 1999]
"Democracy and capitalism seem to have triumphed. But, appearances can be deceiving. Instead of celebrating capitalism’s virtues, we offer it grudging acceptance, contemptuous tolerance, but only for its capacity to feed the insatiable maw of socialism. We do not conclude that socialism suffers from a fundamental flaw. We conclude instead that its ends are worthy of any sacrifice – including our freedom….1937…marks the triumph of our own socialist revolution." [Federalist speech at 6-7, 10]
"In truth, liberalism’s vaunted tolerance and openness is a lie. In America, at least, liberalism is tolerant only of those concerns to which it is indifferent. To those trivialized forms of religious observance which amount to no more than a consumer preference, the culture maintains a posture of tolerance." [Speech to St. Thomas More Society (Oct. 15, 1998) at 8]
"As a conservative judge, I initially accepted the conventional wisdom that substantive due process was a myth invented by judicial activists who were up to no good"[Fifty Ways To Lose Your Freedom Speech 8-12-2000]
"There are so few true conservatives left in America that we probably should be included on the endagered species list"[A Whiter Shade of Pale Speech 4-20-2000]
The D.C. Circuit is viewed as second only to the Supreme Court in areas of law and policy. They have exclusive jurisdiction over appeals from the D.C. District Courts, and Congress has given the court jurisdiction over interpretation of many federal statutes. This means the D.C. Circuit establishes precedent in areas of labor, environmental law, and worker safety. The court is also known as a stepping-stone for Supreme Court nominations with three of the current Supreme Court Justices having served on the D.C. Circuit.
I almost forgot, she is a sharecroppers daughter.

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