What’s the Gov’s Plan with Roldan?

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger raised a few eyebrows late Tuesday when he appointed Alberto Roldan, the former head of La Raza Lawyers Association of Sacramento, deputy appointments secretary.

Hooray, said long-time critics of the governor’s largely Caucasian judicial picks. “It really is a sign that the governor is coming around,” said Christopher Arriola, a board member of the state La Raza Association.

But the governor’s critics may want to keep their celebratory champagne on ice. Schwarzenegger spokeswoman Sabrina Lockhart said Tuesday that judicial appointments are “not part of [Roldan’s] portfolio. That continues to be the work of [judicial appointments adviser] John Davies.”

So what gives? It’s hard to believe Roldan, who could not be reached for comment, won’t have any say in who becomes a judge in California. Otherwise, why bring in a veteran prosecutor — and a Democrat no less — who led an organization that has consistently lobbied the governor to name more judges of color?

The timing is suspicious, too. Just a couple of months ago, the Assembly speaker was threatening to cut 50 new judgeships unless the governor increased the diversity of his appointments. With that squabble settled, the governor is expected to start naming the new jurists early next year.

Could it be that Roldan was brought in to the governor’s office to learn the ropes before taking a higher-profile, judicial appointments post — perhaps after the general election? 

Cheryl Miller

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