By Nadin Abbott
October 22, 2012 (San Diego)—At a press conference called by active and retired members of the legal profession, prominent legal experts urged voters to reject Superior Court candidate Jim Miller. The County Bar Association found Miller “lacking qualifications.” Miller had previously been removed for cause as a Judge Pro Tempore and two weeks ago, had his endorsement by the Lincoln Club revoked.
The Honorable Howard Wiener, a retired judge, told media that “this press conference is to highlight the importance of a judicial election and the need to cast an informed vote.”
Wienger stated that “elections against an incumbent judge are rare.” He added that “when a Governor cannot fill an open seat,” it is up to the voters. This is where the County Bar Association comes in. Through questionnaires, interviews and other means the Association has come with a method to help the voter determine if a candidate is qualified to serve on the Bench.
“The 21 members of the Committee come from a varied background, with different political philosophies and varied practices as lawyers in both the public and private sectors.” After the process was over, the County Bar found that “Mr. (Robert) Amador was ‘well-qualified’ and Mr. (Jim) Miller was ‘lacking qualifications.’”
When asked if he was concerned after the June Primary, when Miller made it through the ballot, Wiener stated that “the June election was history.” He added that choosing a Judge affects all of us since a Judge has a power to rule in a death penalty case, as well as in a marital dispute and other matters. We need people with the temperament to sit on the Bench.
He added that people who run for the Bench in California need to be lawyers, and be in good standing for at least a year in the Bar.
When asked about Miller’s claims that the Association had not endorsed private practice attorneys who are Republicans, Weiner emphasized that organizations are free to chose who they endorse that will advance their agendas, moreover, the Bar has endorsed Republicans in the past. (For the record, on this race both Amador and Miller are Republicans.)
Among more than 20 legal professionals present at the conference were Jill Burkhardt, Past President of the Bar Association, retired Judge Leo Papas, Candance M, Carrol an attorney in private practice, City Attorney Jan Goldsmith, Dave Schallder President of the Deputy Sheriff’s Association of San Diego.
Miller reacted to the event on his website, stating: “So I hear the "establishment" that has hand picked the judges for decades is having a little press conference today. Guess I wasn't on the guest list.”
ECM contacted both the Tea Party Patriots of San Diego and the Republican Party to ask whether they stand by their endorsement of Miller in light of recent events. The Tea Party Patriots said that they were looking into it and indicated they were not aware the Lincoln Club pulled their endorsement. The local Republican Party office indicated that the Party cannot give an answer at this time. The State Republican Party was unaware of the issues, so articles on the conservative Lincoln Club pulling its endorsement was sent to the State Party office.