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Marcus Kaufman, who served on the California Supreme Court for three years, has died. He was 73. Kaufman, a member of the court from 1987-90, succumbed to renal failure at his Corona del Mar home on Wednesday. He had been working as an of counsel for Costa Mesa’s Albert, Weiland & Golden. “He was working right up to the very end,” Managing Partner Michael Weiland said Friday. “He was obviously a very brilliant scholar,” Weiland added. “And he was a decent, gentle, kind, special person. For someone who had the incredible scholastic and professional achievements he had, he was just a very approachable person.” Gov. George Deukmejian appointed Kaufman to the Supreme Court in 1987, soon after voters ousted Chief Justice Rose Bird and two of her colleagues, Justices Joseph Grodin and Cruz Reynoso, for their liberal voting record on the death penalty. Kaufman, who replaced Reynoso, served until 1990, then returned to private practice. Santa Clara University School of Law Professor Gerald Uelmen, who has tracked the Supreme Court for years, called Kaufman “one of the stellar intellects” of the court. “He had a very quick mind, and he did not suffer fools gladly,” Uelmen said Friday. “He had a little bit of a temper, apparently, and his opinions were quite scholarly.” Among Kaufman’s significant decisions were 1987′s Ingersoll v. Palmer, 43 Cal.3d 1321, involving the constitutionality of drunk driving checkpoints, and Sunrise Country Club Association v. Proud, 190 Cal.3d 377, in which he held that a condominium association could exclude families with young children from adult-only areas as long as a reasonable number of units and recreational facilities were set aside for them. That ruling also came out in 1987. Born in Norfolk, Va., in 1929, Kaufman was raised in Hollywood. He served as a lieutenant in the Army during the Korean War, and graduated from the University of Southern California School of Law in 1956. Before joining the Supreme Court, Kaufman had served 17 years as a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal. Prior to that, he had specialized in real estate and business cases in San Bernardino. When he left the bench, friends say, he briefly worked for Buchalter, Nemer, Fields & Younger before joining Albert, Weiland & Golden. Beverly Gong, Kaufman’s secretary at the Supreme Court, said Friday that the former justice was “dear to my heart,” and noted that when he left the court, he asked incoming Justice Armand Arabian to keep his staff. When Arabian agreed, she said, Kaufman cried. “He was so happy and relieved that his staff members were taken care of,” Gong said. “This I will never forget.” Kaufman is survived by his wife of 52 years, Eileen, and two daughters, Sharon and Ellen.

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