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The Filter: Can Judge Stephen Reinhardt Be Impartial on Prop 8?

December 3rd, 2010 by Celeste Fremon

We discussed four topics, but the meatiest was the issue about Judge Stephen Reinhardt being asked to recuse himself from hearing the Prop 8 appeal as one of the panel of three judges, because he is married to outgoing ACLU of So Cal director, Ramona Ripston. Nevermind that the ACLU of So Cal is not involved in this case. (The No Cal ACLU has filed an amicus curiae on the appeal.)

Reinhardt is one of three judges on a randomly chosen panel, by the way, so he won’t decide the case.

What is particularly laughable about the situation is that one could make a good case for recusal of one of the other judges on the panel, Randy Smith. Smith is a conservative appointed by President George W. Bush and, among other conservative activities, he served as chair of the Idaho Republican Party in the 1990s. Smith also graduated Brigham Young University and media reports this week have identified him as a Mormon.

And the Mormon Church reportedly poured millions of dollars into the effort to pass Proposition 8 in 2008.

So, should Smith recuse himself? No. Of course not.

Note to pro Prop 8 people: I’m afraid that you’re stuck having to argue the case on its merits. Sorry about that.

I’d throw a hail Mary too if I had Ted Olson and David Boise lined up against me.

But in the end, this is just the next stop on the way to the Supreme Court, where it’s all about justice Kennedy.


We also talked about Tiger Woods, the biology of cheating, and how many dogs one should be able to have in one house in our fair city.


Heck, I’m just thankful that the puppy didn’t decide to howl in the midst of the taping.

Posted in LGBT, The Filter | 9 Comments »

9 Responses

  1. sbl Says:

    Absolutely agree with you about the Prop 8 issue: with another of the 3 judges, Smith, himself being a conservative and Mormon, if he doesn’t recuse himself, neither should Reinhardt. This does raise an interesting general question re: what does constitute grounds for recusal; all judges are human and have opinions on issues – probably, by their nature tend to do so more often than the average person – and bring that to their work.

    Absolutely disagree on the dog issue (the city voting to allow upto 5 dogs AND cats on EACH property): you admit you live in Topanga where the lots are large, and you have horses as neighbors etc. So maybe this should be a matter of zoning, to allow these animals in more rural areas. (This is also why OTHER zoning issues, including building issues, become extremely sensitive in some areas but not so much others.)

    I live in the canyons where the setback is 5′, and there are houses literally next to and on top of each other for the views and/or location, whereby people want to be very close to metro L A but have trees and tranquility – as much as possible. My neighbor’s dog run is literally right under my bedroom window, and when they were letting the dog out EVERY morning including weekends at dawn, and leaving her out, and the dog barked (as it does at every passing dog and there are LOTS of dogs in this neighborhood, and they far outnumber kids – many owners treat them AS their kids), it became a problem. Which was eventually resolved by their keeping the dog in at certain hours, etc. Another dog in the house below barked like crazy every time anyone in MY house went out to the yard. THAT was only “resolved” when the owner moved. I can’t imagine this multiplied by 5!!!

    And BTW it’s not a cheap area: the two most recent sales by neighbors were $5 mil to celebrities, my house is a shack by comparison but market listings start at well over 1 $mil. A houseful of barking dogs – and theoretically, this could mean housefuls of barking dogs – would radically reduce property values, raise tensions and I assure you, provide lots of work for lawyers.

    There are also areas in the city – most areas – which are R-2 or R-3, so you may have a house with an “animal rescue” bunch of dogs next to an apt. building full of kids, houses and buildings are even more crowded. The whole discussion of how many roosters to allow per house (and whether goats should be allowed etc.), in light of the proliferation of such in certain areas of East L A and South L A., also reminds us that this is not one city, but many, and if someone wants to have barnyard animals or numerous dogs, they must move to a more rural area zoned for such. Sorry.

  2. Father G Says:

    There’s our favorites stupid white girl getting smacked around on the filter again. Give it up, Celeste.

  3. sbl Says:

    You got an honorable mention in Rutten’s editorial yesterday re: the PPL’s very mixed results under Don Novey and Weber as part of their stepped-up political presence. You’re the one who reported that the PPL threw bucks at Whitman because of her stance on preserving pensions for cops and firefighters (ONLY), per their board member Scott Rate – even though, they are city employees and hence, their pensions determined by the city and have nothing to do with the Governor in any case. And more confusing, mixed and decidedly dubious results, both big losses and dubious “victories” when it comes to candidates (who seem chosen b/c they reflect the opinions of Novey/Weber, often at the expense of wisdom and the real good of of the cops).

    Interesting revelation that the PPL’s payment to Novey comes to over $2,000/ hour, which Weber justifies, even though he says he’d never done the computations himself. I wonder if the cops agree that it’s money so well-spent. (Also interestingly, this hourly rate came to the attention of observers b/c Novey justified working for clients other than the Prison Guard Union – who claim he’s in violation of their contract to be exclusive, if I got it right – on the grounds that he only works for PPL 10 hours/week. Which comes to this princely sum.

    And yet Novey also seems confused about whether or not the union DOES want more cops, OR to keep the O/T and pensions of the ones serving now – as figuring into who they support. (They seem to support those who want the former, e.g. Whitman and Trutanich, Essel, vs. their experienced opponents more sensible re: public safety.) The PPL can’t be a true democracy if the rank & file goes along with this clique at the rate it’s going, blowing their money and credibility.

    Probably cops would like both, but that doesn’t pencil out budgetwise – not everyone’s got access to the kind of payroll Novey himself does! Too bad the city officials also seem confused re: whether they want to replace cops with cheaper civilians for some desk jobs – one area PPL/ Weber seem to be right – OR lay off MORE civilians working in LAPD: didn’t I just read it’s on the table to cut 200+ MORE of those jobs? That seems penny- wise/ pound foolish, and hopefully the City Council will over-rule whatever pencil pusher came up with that idea, out of context.

  4. Celeste Fremon Says:

    My apologies to all those whose comments end up in the moderation queue. I’ll try to get them out as soon as possible.

    This won’t last forever, but I’ve tightened certain controls for the comments, which means that some people will unintentionally get swept up by the block.

    I’m sorry about that. The alternative is registration, which I’m hoping to avoid.

    SBL, I thought the Rutten column was veru good (and I liked the shout out, of course). I’ll highlight it tonight as part of the round-up of weekend stories for tomorrow.

    Don Novey is quite a piece of work, and Rutten is the only person who has really commented in any insightful way on what he’s up to of late. The No Cal reporters who mentioned Novey during their elections coverage were mostly adoring.

    As for upping the allowed number of dogs from 3 to 5, yeah, you’re probably right. I sort of took the devil’s advocate position on that one. The main issue is responsible critter ownership, which is hard to enforce.

    People with a single dog, who aren’t paying attention and considerate of both the dog and the humans nearby, can have a creature that drives everybody nuts. We had one dog up near me who was a rescue with bigtime separation anxiety, which meant he barked VERY LOUDLY with a sort of metronomic rhythm for hours and hours whenever his person left him.

    When he was in one of his barking frenzies I vacillated between a state of head-achy fury and pure amazement that his vocal cords could hold up for that long.

    If you have that times 5 it could be something of a….problem.

  5. Sure Fire/Nikki Says:

    SBL you don’t know what you’re talking about. The PPL endorsed Whitman prior to any pension talks she had with them. It was easy for any police group to come out against Harris based on her piss poor record and anti-death penalty stance as soon as she said she was running.

    It always astounds me how you post like you think you have the inside scoop on things at the PPL when it never seems to be factual. If you were actaully posting facts and had all this info why avoid the things that show you’re off base? Oh wait, that would take posting without bias, and that’s not your strong point. The endorsement was a done deal from day 1, look it up or ask what of your pals. Don’t try to play like you didn’t know that.

    See SBL, I can actually disagree with some of what Weber says, but not come off as simply a PPL hater. It’s no different with your raps about Cooley, Trutanich and Baca. There just a bunch of dunces as far as your concerned and that’s far from the truth.

    Weber’s O.T. thoughts are valid in regards to cops being taken off the street, the mayor and Beck really don’t address that but Weber doesn’t take funding into account enough in this city, and state gone broke due to the people you support running it. Holding them accountable for the mess we’re in is something I never see you lefties do. It’s all about the people they’ve paid and yet it’s none of them in charge of the fiscal soundness of L.A. or the state. Not a big deal to people on the left though, and at least we’ll get rid of plastic bags and treat the illegals ok, that makes us so much smarter and better than everyone else.

    The same goes for your yap about Prop 8.

    “Absolutely agree with you about the Prop 8 issue: with another of the 3 judges, Smith, himself being a conservative and Mormon, if he doesn’t recuse himself, neither should Reinhardt”.

    This is 8th grade level reasoning coming from you. If you could show Smith gave money to or was sleeping with someone that has the name rcognition and made the puplic remarks in support of Prop 8, as Ripston did against it as the head of the ACLU here you might actually make a point.

    That won’t be happening though will it? As Reinhardt’s rulings have shown in the past he can’t be trusted not to let his left leaning ideology rule his thoughts should he ever be trusted to give the right a fair shake…ever? Should he be sent out to pasture because of that? Of course not, only toss out the conservative Mormons.

  6. Celeste Fremon Says:

    SF, For the record, it is my understanding that the LAPPL didn’t endorse Whitman until after they met with both candidates. I don’t have the dates in front of me, but I did the entire timeline with Scott Rate, who is on the board of directors and also the head of the union’s political endorsement committee, when we were talking about the whole whoregate thingy.

  7. sbl Says:

    Sure Fire, what took you so long to tell me I don’t know what I’m talking about because I’m a libral and we are by nature stoopid when it comes to anything to do with cops because of course, you, Weber, Novey and that ilk are always right (the cops should thank their lucky stars you DON’T have official capacity, the feds would make the Consent Decree look like a praise book). Thank goodness the Chiefs of Police of LAPD happen to be more cognizant of the big picture and the law – they keep the small minds from alienating the public again like in the glory days of old you yearn for.

    If I speak against certain egotistical prima dona control freaks and/or bullies who just happen to be among those you name as your heroes it’s because they are that and more – but my observations of fact are nothing for the incessant knee-jerk derision you constantly hurl at all Democrats. (And which at least some of those you list do as well, or barely suppress and deride through alter-egos like the Jack Dunphy posts. You’d love it, but if Weber-Novey clique were in charge of actually running LAPD, the cops would have even more to worry about, a lot more, than their wasting $2,000+/hour and millions on counter-productive and downright confused, campaign meddling. (Anyway, I doubt you are actually an L A cop, since many of them are quite smart enough to have figured out that the antagonistic position their current union leadership has to the Chiefs and anyone more educated or less reactionary than they are, has taken the union down the wrong road and they’re fed up with the waste of their time and political capitol.)

    I can see how they’d have gone for Cooley no matter what, that was a foregone conclusion- and it’s telling you admit that going for Republican neophyte Whitman was too – but what did they get in Trutanich? He attacked LAPD for handling the Jackson memorial events – without a single incident – as a huge waste of money and O/T for cops, has been trying by hook or crook to set up a private police force “to police the police” in his words among others (i.e.,Democrats and those who don’t support him, which has grown to quite a list it seems)? Well, he did expose Cooley for the political manipulator he is and help cost him his ambitions. Otherwise he’s been a wrench in city government just for the sake of it and stubborness and ego. What was that Novey and Novey claimed about choosing him because he would be a conciliator who would smooth their way with other city officials?

    What has the PPL/Novey clique actually accomplished for the cops? Nothing, neither from the insular point of view of a self-serving union OR public safety, only attracted negative attention and waste of money.

    How do you think cops feel about Novey’s hourly salary and the millions drained from their dues, while the union has only managed to antagonize those with power over their salaries? Like Parks – who they waged perhaps their most ill-advised battle against when County Supervisors don’t even oversee LAPD- yet they spent a bundle to elect Ridley -Thomas whose values they don’t even concur with, because Parks didn’t support the union’s financial demands – and now he’s got cause to be more “Bitter Bernie” than he ever was. (Though to be fair, I think he votes on his principles right or wrong anyway.) Sure Fire does admit one flaw with Weber, that he doesn’t take financial reality into account (really?) but promptly blames the financial mess on “you lefties” – what an unexpected line of “reasoning.”

    I’m not going to retreat the Reinhardt-Smith issue: Celeste nailed that one. Not to mention, if you are going to hold someone responsible for their spouse’s positions, what about Schwartzenegger-Maria Shriver, numerous others, like that well-known left-right high-powered political pundit couple. The very idea of that is ridiculous- sometimes smart people get along with each other much better and respect each other’s views better regardless of party or political orientation, than they do with stoopid people of any stripe. E.g., I respect Eastman who ran against Cooley from the right because he is so articulate, smart and principled (his surprisingly strong showing from nowhere against the odds, was an indication of how weak Cooley really was).

    And no one had said “toss out the conservative Mormons,” even though there we are talking about Smith’s own views NOT his spouse’s/ mother’s- father’s etc. – it’s only an issue because he has a far more direct connection to Prop 8 and likely bias than Reinhardt, so it’s a matter of synchronicity.

  8. Randy Paul Says:

    Celeste,

    My dad had a commercial kennel in which we raised show dogs (collies and a breed called kuvasz (plural kuvaszok)). We sold show quality puppies and had a couple of males for whom we got stud fees. With our first litter of collies, the dam developed mastitis, a breast infection that necessitated bottle feeding thirteen puppies. They were always hungry. Always. We had to get licensed even though it was in a relatively rural area. All in all, it probably was a proposition on which he broke even.

    That notwithstanding, it was a lot of work: scooping poop, grooming, washing the dogs (try to get red Alabama clay dirt out of white kuvasz fur), feeding, etc. I can tell you this: I never want to have more than one dog again in my life. One of the most annoying things about mammals is the fact that as female mammals live together longer, their estrous cycles synchronize resulting in every single female being “in heat” simultaneously. Obviously you want to breed selectively – if at all sometimes – so it’s a real challenge keeping the males away. Even if you are successful, the males moan their mutual distress 24/7. What fun!

    I mention all this because it’s a lot of work to take care of dogs well. The more dogs, the more difficult.

  9. Sure Fire/Nikki Says:

    They endorsed her on September 12th but as far back as late March she had laid out her plans to exempt law enforcement from her 401(k) plans for other state workers. There was never any doubt she would have their endorsement from the get go. That was my point. Though not official the endorsement was a done deal way back when.

    SBL, their not my heroes. As usual you waltz around my take on your refusal to hold those in office accountable. Both Brown and now Harris have refuse to appeal Prop 8, they have told the voters of this state to kiss their ass, Harris did the same with her anti-death penalty stance. Those are your heroes and belong to the same party that has brought this state to fiscal ruin.

    I don’t agree with everything Cooley does and as I live outside L.A., the idiots that make up local government there have little play in my life. I don’t know that liberals are by nature stupid, I’d say it’s more by their actions. They all appear to have O.C.

    I do pine for some of the old days. Not the old days you speak of when there were scandals by cops doing the wrong thing, but when everyone could speak their minds and cops could do their work (the real work that honest officers did you wouldn’t know a thing about) without fear of getting in trouble for using the wrong word or offending some idiot. Cops could let it be known in the harshest terms possible that they would hunt down and take the local gangsters and thugs to jail. I did that all the time, I threatened the hell out of people and let them know that if I caught their ass doing something they would be mine. I’ve had people tell me they were kept straight by the fear guys like me meant what we said. It wasn’t about doing anything illegal, I and the vast majority of the cops never did anything like that, but we could leave an impression on an impressionable mind and it worked, not enough but sometimes. Something wrong with that perfectly legal type of tactic SBL?

    Say that type of thing now and you’d get a talking to, if not written up but on the other hand, isn’t that exactly what we pay our cops to do.

    When a 28 year old piece of scum made a complaint on my son some time ago he brought his daddy in with him. That would have been unheard of when I worked the streets. That’s what your peeps are all about though, all those sensitive little souls that think cops are there to kiss their ass, and it’s so sad some actually do it.

    I guess if the LAPPL didn’t think they were getting what they wanted from Novey the rank and file would be up in arms. Maybe that will happen, I don’t know as I don’t belong to the LAPPL, just have lots of friends there.

    As for my unexpected line of reasoning regarding Weber, you and people like you are the ones that keep re-electing the real power brokers in this state as we go broke. I understand that but you’re so entrenched in you leftist philosophy you just don’t care. Take the credit now SBL and let me know how that’s going with us 25 billion plus in the hole.

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