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Arrogant judges

Your article, "South Dakota measure puts judges on edge," (November), reflects one of the problems with the State Bar; when bad news is revealed, shoot the messenger rather than address the problem. I know nothing about Ron Branson, but petty name-calling is beneath the bar.

We are all familiar with arrogant and abusive judges who have limited knowledge of the law, particularly the Evidence Code. Refusing to take any action against these well-known bad judges is explained with euphemisms such as "judicial autonomy," "independent decisions" and "judicial intimidation."

Nowhere in the article did I see any proposed action other than maintaining the status quo. If nothing is done to correct the abuses seen on the evening news, the public will be forced to sign an initiative of overkill. The ball is in your court, Chief Justice George and Judge Scott Kays.

Bruce Stark
Seal Beach

In defense of diversity

Stephen Glassman surmises (October letters) that promoting diversity in the legal profession means lowering standards and that having a diverse bar will have no significant effect on the administration of justice. Mr. Glassman is mistaken on both points.

Seeking diversity in the legal profession is not seeking to lower standards. Everyone passes the bar and enters the profession on equal footing. As to the second point, it is not just members of underrepresented communities that are seeking diversity. Businesses and governmental officials have found that with a diverse state population comes the necessity to meet the needs of diverse communities.

 Thus, diversity is not just good business; it is good government.

We are hopeful that all can appreciate that diversity is not a principle of exclusion but one of inclusion; that diversity is not a policy that seeks to close access but rather one that opens doors of opportunity for all of us.

Gene Stuart and Matt White
Co-chairs, Diversity Section
Marin County Bar Association

Follow letter of the law

I am proud of the State Bar and its Diversity Pipeline Task Force for its goal of diversifying our profession through networking initiatives and public service programs. (November.) 

However, I hope the State Bar, as well as any attorneys aiding the bar's diversity effort, can accomplish this noble goal without violating the host of California laws that prohibit discrimination based on personal characteristics like race, sex, disability, age or sexual orientation — and being liable for a minimum of $4,000 in statutory damages per occurrence of discrimination plus the prevailing plaintiffs' attorneys' fees.

I only hope that in trying to achieve its goal, the bar, or any attorneys aiding its effort, does not discriminate against any individual based on a personal characteristic protected by California's anti-discrimination laws.

Alfred G. Rava
San Diego

One benefit of old age

State Bar members distressed by the rising dues for inactive members (October letters) should bear in mind that under Bus. &  Prof. Code §6141(b), inactive members who are 70 or older don't have to pay a dime. Few will want to speed up the biological clock for this purpose, but saving $125 — or $400, if the alternative is to go active — may provide some small solace for the ravages of age.

Stephen R. Barnett

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