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A psychiatrist for various L.A. luminaries, Fredrick’s medical license was revoked in 2000, the L.A. Timesreported at the time, in connection with drugs she prescribed to producer Don Simpson, who died of an overdose in 1996.

Justin Scheck


The constitutional fight over marriage in California, though civil, has already exhibited a certain potential for absurdly crowded courtrooms. And as the litigation heads for the First District Court of Appeal, oral argument may get even more jam-packed.

Kenneth Starr, the former independent counsel who made Bill Clinton’s life so hard, is now co-counsel for some amiciin the marriage cases. And he filed a motion last week asking that the justices add 10 minutes to the clock at oral argument so his clients can make their own points about the pros of a one-man, one-woman institution.

Interestingly, it’s at least the second time this year that Starr, a former federal circuit court judge and U.S. solicitor general, has popped up in a prominent case in California. Now dean of Pepperdine University School of Law, he also joined the defense team for Michael Morales, a death row inmate attacking the state’s lethal injection procedure in federal court.

This latest move also highlights the continuing tension between the different camps all fighting to maintain the ban on gay marriage. Starr says his clients (including the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints) and other like-minded amiciwant to venture into arguments Attorney General Bill Lockyer refuses to make, such as how the definition of marriage can affect children’s development.

It’s to be expected, Starr wrote, that the litigants fighting for gay marriage would dispute such points. “Somewhat surprisingly, however, the attorney general does so as well,” added Starr.

Of course, this isn’t really surprising. Lockyer, a Democrat who’s emphasized his support for domestic partnerships, made clear at the outset that he’d limit his arguments to less-controversial territory. Still, he’s not about to muzzle Starr. He just won’t help him.

“He doesn’t object to the addition to oral arguments so they can say their piece, as long as it doesn’t come out of our time,” Tom Dresslar, a spokesman for the attorney general, said Wednesday.

Some attorneys arguing in favor of gay marriage are going a bit further.

Lawyers for San Francisco filed a response Friday arguing that two of their opponents are already putting forth the same arguments.

“Our position is, if the court wants to let [Starr's clients] argue, fine, we don’t object to that,” said Chief Deputy City Attorney Therese Stewart. “But don’t add argument time, because it’s already going to be lengthy. Take [the time] from the people who share identical views, if they want to share it.”

Lawyers at Heller Ehrman and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, who represent several same-sex couples, had already filed a short response of their own to point out that eight setsof attorneys already represent the main parties. With amicifiling 13 briefs on top of that, they suggest it’s “likely” a number of others will ask to speak, if Starr’s motion is granted.

Pam Smith


Even though nearly two years have passed since Ronald Reagan died, his former attorney general, Edwin Meese III, says not a day goes by that someone doesn’t ask about the former president.

“There’s continued interest in him,” Meese told a large crowd last week during a luncheon for the California Supreme Court at San Francisco’s Fairmont Hotel. “People still remember him. They ask questions about him.”

The question most asked? “What was he really like?” Meese said.

And Meese’s usual answer? That Reagan always maintained “optimism and cheerfulness no matter what was going on.”

Reagan, who served as president from 1981 through 89, died from pneumonia on June 5, 2004, at his home in Los Angeles’ Bel-Air neighborhood. He was 93.

Meese, 74, said Reagan’s well-known sense of humor was always in play and that a day in the White House’s Oval Office didn’t pass without a joke from the boss.

Meese retold one.

The Central Intelligence Agency, concerned about problems caused by the Irish Republican Army, dispatched an undercover agent to Northern Ireland. They gave him the last name “Murphy” and put him under deep cover, but with a pass code phrase if the CIA decided to contact him.

Time passed, and a courier was sent to find Murphy. The courier went to a local pub and told the bartender he was looking for a man named “Murphy.” To which, the bartender said there were plenty of Murphys, including Murphy the blacksmith and Murphy the farmer. Indeed, the bartender said, he himself was a Murphy.

So the courier decided to chance using the pass code: “Tis a fair day today,” he said, “but tomorrow will be lovelier.”

“Oh,” the bartender said, “you want Murphy the spy.”

It wasn’t quite like hearing the joke from Reagan’s mouth, but the Fairmont crowd, attending an event hosted by The Lawyers’ Club of San Francisco, still chuckled.

Mike McKee