ONE MAN’S OPINION-Need we ask why an attorney may not advise the judge that the opposing counsel is a light-skinned Black by saying, “This boy is a N-word?” Wouldn’t we expect the judge to instantaneously stop the proceedings and strongly admonish the attorney?
Wouldn’t we be surprised if the judge condoned the racism by having a private side bar with the white attorney while excluding the Black attorney? What would we think if the judge then ignored the Black attorney who objected to being excluded from this whispered side bar?
What if, after learning the light-skinned attorney was Black, the judge changed his ruling to be against the Black attorney, altered the evidence offered by the Black attorney and then fined the Black attorney $27,000 for disagreeing with the white attorney.
It’s hard to believe, but something like the above hypothetical example occurred in 2015, right here in Los Angeles Superior Court. The difference is that the real-life situation involved another type of bias: rather than calling a Black person “boy,” a lawyer told a judge that the opposing attorney was a trouble-maker Jew who would “refuse Jesus Christ.”
The Courts Assert that California State Constitution Allows Judges to be Prejudiced
When that Jewish attorney (yours truly) objected to this judge’s conduct, he defended his position using California State Constitution Article VI, Section 10. At no time did the judge dispute the facts or apologize for allowing religion and ethnicity into his courtroom.
The Judge’s Justification Demeans the California Constitution
Let’s see if Calif. Const. Art VI, Sec 10 authorizes judges to be bigots. What do “We the People” think the last sentence of Art VI, Sec 10 means?
“The court may make any comment on the evidence and the testimony and credibility of any witness as in its opinion is necessary for the proper determination of the cause.” (Full text of Art VI is here.)
(1) Do We the People think that this section allows judges to exclude Jews and others who “refuse Jesus Christ” from hearings?
(2) Do We the People think this section allows judges to falsify evidence?
(3) Do We the People think that this section allows judges to conceal exculpatory evidence?
Apparently, the California Supreme Court Chief Justice believes this. And so do the Commission on Judicial Performance and the State Bar. Now our new Governor is in court defending bigotry on the basis of Art VI, Sec 10.
Governor Newsom Refuses to Discuss Ending the Anti-Jewish Policy
After filing a federal anti-discrimination lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, I requested that former Gov. Brown agree to voluntarily meet and confer in order to end the policy. He declined to do so, but then, he was a lame duck governor. On January 31, 2019, plaintiff asked the new Governor to formally meet about his stopping the discrimination rather than continue to defend it in court. (See Cen. Dist. Ct’s Gen. Order No. 11-10)
Plaintiff’s January 31, 2019 request via the Governor’s attorney stated in pertinent part.
“Perhaps, the new Governor would be amenable to having a prompt mediation so that the State of California may cease and desist its promotion of anti-Semitism as an official California policy… Because the Governor has chosen to fight on behalf of the blatant anti-Semitism of barring Jews from court and falsifying evidence against Jews because they “refuse Jesus Christ,” the Governor may not claim that the policy is unofficial, . . .
“When the State promotes any form of bigotry, all are in danger as demonstrated by the recent attack on Jussie Smollett, as he is Black and Gay, by two thugs yelling that ‘this is MAGA country.’
“Although the Charlottesville’s marchers, the Pittsburgh murderer and Smollett’s attackers may have been encouraged by leaders in government, they themselves were not high-ranking government officials. The Trump Administration tracked down some of the right-wing anti-Semites and charged them with felonies, but California penalizes the victims of its anti-Semitism…”
On February 8, 2019, Governor Newsom refused to even discuss ending the anti-Semitic policy. Speaking through his attorney, the Governor stated, “Your mediation request/proposal has been declined.”
How Group Rights Are Destroying Our Nation
Group Rights’ core evil is that individuals do not have rights. Rather, people’s rights derive from their membership in a particular group. When California judges are authorized to treat attorneys and litigants according to their group, i.e. Black, Jewish, Hispanic, then we all are in danger.
Let’s Not Be Naive About the Governor’s Support for Anti-Semitism
What are the behind the scenes political considerations that prevent the Governor from discussing the end of the anti-Semitic policy?
(1) Both the GOP and the Dems have significant factions that are anti-Semitic and who would be displeased if the Governor supported Jews.
(2) Judges are powerful. They get to do what they want and everyone else be damned. If Governor Newsom should do anything to constrain anti-Jewish bias, then the Armenians will demand the same protection. So will Hispanics, Blacks, and Gays, as will anyone else when a judge shows prejudice against an attorney’s or litigant’s race, creed, color, national origin, etc. The only unusual aspect of this case is that Judge John Torribio openly defended his prejudice and the Governor defends this bigotry in the judiciary and elsewhere within California state agencies and departments.
Governor Newsom has chosen to avoid the political heat of opposing anti-Semitism. He is kowtowing to the power of judges. Remember that the next time you’re in court.
(Richard Lee Abrams is a Los Angeles attorney and a CityWatch contributor. He can be reached at: Rickleeabrams@Gmail.com. Abrams’ views are his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of CityWatch.) Edited for CityWatch by Linda Abrams.