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San Francisco Superior Court

At the June election, four public defenders hope to unseat four judges of the San Francisco Superior Court, Andrew Cheng, Curtis Karnow, Cynthia Ming-mei Lee, and Jeffrey Ross. According to one of the challengers, “this was really a group decision.”

More is at stake in this election than initially meets the eye; and it imposes special responsibilities on the legal community.

The most notable aspect of the challenge to these judges is the reason for it, which has nothing to do with either the quality of their work or the measure of their character. Although none of the judges is a Republican (all are Democrats), they were targeted for the stated reason that all were appointed by a Republican Governor. One of the challengers says that “this is not about politicizing the bench, not about judicial independence” but only about the fact that “a Schwarzenegger appointee doesn’t reflect the values of our community, it’s that simple.”

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