GOPers to Arnold: Get Out of the Middle

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger is appointing too many liberal Democrats to the bench, conservative members of his own California Republican Party say. And they’ve had enough of it.

Riled-up Republicans have introduced a resolution to debate at their upcoming state party convention that demands Schwarzenegger stop appointing so many “liberal Democrats? and start naming some “quality Republicans.?

By conservatives’ count, the governor has filled 118 superior court vacancies with just 59 Republicans, plus 47 Democrats and 12 jurists who registered decline-to-state. Most galling, they say, is the Jan. 19 appointment of Democrat Teresa Snodgrass-Bennett to the San Bernardino County Superior Court.

Not only is she a Democrat, critics complained, but as a deputy public defender she represented child murderers and a rapist.

The “bad appointments? resolution is one of five that conservative Republicans will float at their San Jose get-together later this month. The others would revoke the party’s pre-primary endorsement of Schwarzenegger, oppose any minimum wage increase, demand the governor balance his proposed budget, and eliminate the use of general obligation bonds in the governor’s infrastructure plan.

So will Schwarzenegger change course in the face of so much anger? Probably not. The governor’s post-election move to the political middle has played well in public opinion polls. And legislative moderates have generally applauded his politically diverse judicial picks. Schwarzenegger needs that support if his proposal to create 150 new judgeships over the next three years is to survive the Legislature.

— Cheryl Miller

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