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Arnold’s Big Decision

Wednesday, August 24, 2005  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

Gov. Arnold was a guest on the program today. You can read a transcript of the enitre interview over at Radioblogger, but the key exchange, in my view, came at the end of the conversation. The confirmation of Janice Roger Brown to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit has created a vacancy on the California Supreme Court. Brown was the most conservative member of California’s highest court, and though she often was obliged to dissent, she was a voice for serious scholarship from the right side of the legal spectrum in a state inceasingly overwhelmed at every level by left and hard left thinking.

Her replacement matters a lot to center-right conservatives, and Arnold’s choice will be a huge deal to the center-right troops whom he will need in the fall of ’06 if he declares for re-election.

It would be the smartest, and easiest thing in the world to nominate former Congressman, state legislator and judge James Rogan, who’s up from the streets life story is inspiring to all people who know it.

It will be a disaster if Arnold picks a “centrist” or a time-serving state or federal judge.

If the Los Angeles Times is happy with the appointment, Arnold will have stumbled. Badly.

Conservatives have little to show for their support of Arnold to date. Things would have been worse under Davis, yes, but the blowback might have been enoguh to trigger statewide realignment. This is the opportunity Arnold needs to use to say “thanks” to his supporters on the right while at the same time doing the courts a favor by keeping alive a vibrant strain of legal reasoning, which though in the minority at present, represents a significant slice of California thinking. Here’s the excerpt:

HH: Will you be appointing the new Justice on the California Supreme Court before the election?

AS: I don’t think it will be before the election, but I mean…

HH: Are conservatives going to be happy, Governor?

AS: We are right now going through the process, and it is, as you know, it’s always very important that we appoint the right person, the most competent person, the person that really has skills and experience.

HH: But it’s got to be a conservative. I mean, Janice Rogers Brown was the most conservative member of that court, and if you come in with a moderate, aren’t the conservatives going to sit on their hands for you, Governor, next year?

AS: You can count on it that we will do the right…we will pick the right choice, and that we will do the right replacement.

UPDATE: Judge Brown is schedule to hear about 25 cases in the next two months. Her opinions will be closely examined as she has to be on the president’s short list for the next vacancy, along with Judges Luttig an McConnell.

I have been searching for the record of the swearing-in of Judge Brown. If you have a link, please send it along to

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