Judging Matthew Rothschild

Why is the Democratic Party elite backing an underqualified party operative for the local judiciary?

"But the state of California says that to be qualified [to be a judge] the threshold is five years legal experience and a member in good standing with the bar," he concludes.

So what makes Rothschild more qualified than Albers? "Who I am is an activist who has had to take roll call votes on rent control, on environmental issues, on labor, on privatizing city services, on consent decrees," he says. "The battles I have fought have been more community-based, and that would be refreshing and isn't represented on the bench."

Rothschild seems to be going by the same standard once applied by former Nebraska Sen. Roman Hruska when he defended Nixon judicial appointment G. Harrold Carswell in 1970:

"There are a lot of mediocre judges and people and lawyers, and they are entitled to a little representation. Aren't they?"

Still, it's the standard Rothschild and the local Democratic establishment are maintaining. To state the real reason for their support -- that they are paying pack political favors to a Democratic Party team player -- would be too embarrassing. Listen to their excuses for Rothschild.

Carole Migden: "[Superior Court Judge] Donna Hitchens had only one trial under her belt, and the liberal left supported her."

John Burton: "Earl Warren hadn't been in a courtroom for 20 years when he was appointed to the Supreme Court."

Rothschild takes the rationale one step further: "Paul Haerle was appointed by Pete Wilson to the Court of Appeals, and he was a former chair of the California Republican Party."

Translation: The right has its unqualified party hacks, so the left should have its own, too.

But even on this score, Rothschild is light-years off-base. Sure, Haerle was state Republican Party chair for two years in the mid-'70s. But more important, Haerle was a senior partner and trial attorney for the San Francisco firm of Thelen, Marrin, Johnson & Bridges for 38 years.

For an honest voice among his supporters, Rothschild has to rely on sheriff and attorney Michael Hennessey. Asked why he endorsed Rothschild he says:

"He helped me get my two jail bond measures endorsed by the Democratic Central Committee."

Too bad the filing deadline is past and this talented and forthright lawyer can't enter the race.

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