Friday, December 31, 2010

Ronald George Steps Down as the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court

Ronald M. George has announced that he will step down as the Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, effective midnight January 2, 2011, after spending 38 years on the bench. "Reflection convinced me now is the right time--while I am at the top of my game--to leave while the proverbial music still plays," Justice George announced.

Justice Ronald Marc George is a native of Beverly Hills. He was born March 11, 1940. After graduating from Beverly Hills High School in 1957, he attended Princeton University where he earned a B.A. from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. In 1964, he earned a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School.

Justice George started his judicial career as he was appointed to the Los Angeles Municipal Court by Governor Ronald Reagan in 1972. In 1977, he was appointed to the Los Angeles Superior Court by Governor Edmund Brown, Jr. In 1987, he was appointed to the California Court of Appeals by Governor George Deukmejian. In 1991, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of the State of California by Governor Pete Wilson. On March 28, 1996, he was appointed as the Twenty-Seventh Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of California, which position he holds to date.

Justice George is well-known for authoring California Supreme Court's 2008 opinion the case of In re Marriage Cases, case number S147999. In this controversial opinion, the Court struck down existing California law which limited marriage as to one between a man and a woman. This decision provided authority for gay marriages, but it was shortly overturned by Proposition 8.

As the head of the California Judiciary, Justice George consolidated the Municipal Courts and Superior Courts. As well, he created self-help services for people who could not afford to hire attorneys. He also urged that courts provide language interpreters for those who do not speak English.

Justice George is a prolific writer. He has been the author of West Publishing Co.'s California Criminal Trial Judge's Benchbook in 1985, 1986, 1987 and 1988. As well, he has authored several law review articles, including Access to Justice in Times of Fiscal Crisis, 40 Golden Gate L. Rev. 1 (2009), Achieving Impartiality in State Courts, 97 Cal. L. Rev. 1853 (2009), and Challenges Facing an Independent Judiciary, 80 N.Y.U. L. Rev. 1345 (2005).

Justice George is married, and has three sons. He enjoys hiking, which has taken him to the Sierras, the Himalayas and the Swiss Alps.

The materials for this weblog were gathered from various sources including articles on San Francisco Chronicle, LA Weekly, USA Today, Metropolitan News Enterprise, Judicial Council of California, Wikipedia, and The Miami Herald. For additional information you may conduct a search on Google.

Robin Mashal is a Los Angeles business attorney, and a partner at the law firm of Hong & Mashal LLP. Mr. Mashal has been admitted to the State Bar of California and the Bar of the United States Supreme Court. He can be reached by phone at (310) 286-2000.