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The California Judges Association opted Wednesday to take no position on Proposition 73, rejecting juvenile court judges’ plea to oppose the hot-button abortion measure. The decision was reached during a telephone conference among members of the organization’s executive board. Officials wouldn’t disclose the vote count or how many of the 26 members took part. In an e-mail message to judges around the state, CJA President Terry Friedman, a judge on the Los Angeles County Superior Court, said members of the executive board received “many thoughtful comments” that helped make up their minds. “Our board members,” he wrote, “take seriously their responsibility to inform judicial officers in their districts about important issues before the board and to solicit their views.” Late last month, the Juvenile Court Judges of California, a section of the CJA, recommended that the organization oppose Prop 73, the November ballot measure that would amend the California Constitution to prohibit abortions for minors until 48 hours after their parents or legal guardians have been notified. Exceptions would be made for medical emergencies, and minors could obtain court orders waiving notice based on clear and convincing evidence of their maturity. The juvenile court judges argued that Prop 73 would have “a profound negative effect” on the courts and “would impose substantial burdens and responsibilities upon our already overburdened court system.” They also didn’t like the fact that the initiative would require annual reports on the numbers of petitions filed, granted and denied by each judge in the state. Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Michael Nash, who is president of the Juvenile Court Judges of California, expressed disappointment about the vote on Wednesday, but said he wasn’t surprised. “From what I’ve seen on other materials,” he said, “the majority of judges who commented on this � and a number did � felt we shouldn’t take a position.” He said their reasons ranged from “‘we shouldn’t be taking positions on propositions’ to the position that any position we take would be misconstrued to people flat out disagreeing with the analysis.” One opponent was retired San Mateo County Superior Court Judge Quentin Kopp, who told Friedman last week that taking a position on Prop 73 would “demonstrate indisputably that [CJA] does participate in politics, that it does currently have a political bent, that [the judiciary] is not genuinely an independent branch of government.”

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