RUSH: Ladies and gentlemen, we are honored to welcome to the program a former California state Supreme Court justice, Edward Panelli, who has been listening to the program and wanted to say some things about Judge Janice Rogers Brown. Welcome, sir, to the program. It’s an honor to have you with us.
CALLER: Thank you, Rush. I heard all this stuff about Janice Brown. I encouraged her to become a judge while I was still on the court, and I believe she’s not only qualified, she’s eminently qualified. Her experience through the Jennings Commission in California, which is kind of the screening position, the first time around, I think, it’s not an indication of her abilities, but more as a result of the political structure that the JNE (Judicial Nominations Evaluation) Commission enjoyed at that time.
RUSH: Is that essentially the bar?
CALLER: Yes, essentially the bar.
CALLER: There is a series of appointees. The governor makes some appointees; the bar makes some appointees, but Janice Brown is a very, very bright woman. She’s come up from a sharecropper’s daughter to sit on our court. My interaction with her before she was a judge was such that I told her, “Janice, you’ve got to become a judge because you bring your experiences, which are needed.”
RUSH: Did you serve with her?
CALLER: No. I left the court in ’94. I served from ’85 to ’94.
RUSH: Well, what do you think of what’s going on now in this whole judicial confirmation process? I know it’s federal that we’re talking about here, but —
RUSH: — you’re a judge. You’re on the California Supreme Court. What is your opinion of how this has — Antonin Scalia said the other day that he was confirmed 98-zip and everybody knew he was a conservative 20 years ago when he was confirmed. But today it’s almost impossible to get somebody confirmed who is a conservative, given the Democrats’ willingness to filibuster. How do you view this?
CALLER: Well, I think it’s become a litmus test. My feeling is that they know that Janice Brown is a woman of conscience, and that she’s going to call things the way she sees them. She’s been vilified by African-Americans, by virtue of some of the positions she’s taken. But here’s a woman who has lived through the type of discrimination that we’re trying to avoid, and you would think that you would want someone to represent those kinds of views on our highest court. It’s a shame that they’ve said the things that they have about her.
RUSH: Well, it is a shame but it’s what we’ve come to. In the process of opposing her nomination and confirmation, they engage in tactics that essentially destroy her reputation, or at least have the potential to do so. It’s the same thing that happened to Judge Bork —
RUSH: — and a number of others. And as you say, she’s a fine woman. I mean they may disagree with her, but they’re setting this up as though she’s not qualified to be a judge anywhere. She’s barely qualified to live.
CALLER: She is an intelligent woman who reasons through these very difficult decisions that you have to make on the state’s highest court. She was a very good court of appeal justice which is the intermediate court in California, and of course I was still on the court when she was on the intermediate court so we had an opportunity to review her opinions. I think that she is eminently qualified, and I really — as I say — it personally bothers me to hear some of the things that I’ve heard said about her.
RUSH: Well, judge, I appreciate your calling. It’s great to have you in the audience. It’s great to have you get through here and give us your personal recollections about her because it will help shore up other people who don’t know her and their opinions of her, because yours are eminently qualified. That is Justice Edward Panelli, the former California state Supreme Court justice who was listening when I read some of the criticisms of Janice Rogers Brown as found on the People for the American Way website, and he called to attempt to set the record straight. Thanks again, judge, for the phone call.