Friday, October 06, 2006

Judge Richard Kramer

Made the news this week when his March 2005 ruling that California's ban on same-sex marriages violated California's constitution, was reversed by a panel of three appellate judges.

In 2005, Judge Kramer opined in part:

It appears as though no rational purpose exists for limiting marriage in this state to opposite-sex partners."
This week, the panel - Justice William McGuiness, Justice Joanne Parrilli and Justice J. Anthony Kline (dissenting), holding court in California's First Appellate District reversed Judge Kramer, opining in part:
"Courts in this state simply do not have authority to redefine marriage."
Some believe that Judge Kramer engaged in judicial activism in his ruling. Others believe Judge Kramer simply found two laws in conflict and held that the State Constitution trumps. Judge Kramer did what the legislature can not do or will not do - he made a decision. That is what judges are paid to do.

Expect an appeal to the State Supreme Court.

Judge Richard Kramer, a Roman Catholic, was appointed to the bench in 1996 by fellow Republican, then Govenor Pete Wilson.

Californians have historically disapproved of judicial activism. Twenty years ago this November, California voters and "social conservatives" sent the state's Supreme Court Chief Justice, Rose Bird, and two Associate Supreme Court Justices, Cruz Reynoso and Joseph Grodin, to early retirement for their judicial activism.

Is Judge Kramer at risk? Perhaps. Judge Kramer is up for re-election in 2008.

Notes and quotes:

Judge Kramer handled the settlement talks in the fight over Barry Bonds' record-breaking 73rd home run ball.

Former-federal-prosecutor-turned-defense-attorney Jerrold Ladar said Kramer makes every effort to settle a case. "He's also a trustworthy judge with great credibility with both district attorneys and defense attorneys," Ladar said. His advice to lawyers appearing before Kramer is: "Be candid with him. Don't play any games. When someone does that, he says, 'I've done that, so don't try to hose me.'"

Perhaps an insight into the judge is a print hanging in his chambers by the contemporary painter Kostabi called "Talk to the Devil." It depicts a blue figure looking at his shadow on a redbrick wall. The shadow is that of the devil.

"There's a potential for the devil in all of us," the judge said with a devilish grin.
Rambus Inc. shareholders hope Judge Kramer, who is presiding over litigation involving the alleged conspiracy - by convicted pricing-fixing DRAM manufacturers - to prevent Rambus's RDRAM from becoming the industry standard, talks to their devil and sends him packing; before Judge Kramer faces his own re-election. There is hope . . .


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