This measure is, depending on who you talk to, either a partisan effort to
boost Republican representation in the Legislature, or a good-government
reform to take legislators out of the process of drawing boundaries for the
state’s Congressional, Assembly, Senate and Board of Equalization districts.
Instead of leaving political map making up to legislators, Prop. 77 would
create a three-member panel of “special masters” composed of retired judges.
But the process of selecting those special masters is more harrowing than
any television reality show.
The Judicial Council, the administrative arm of the state Supreme Court, is
charged with selecting 24 retired judges to be potential special masters.
Democrats and Republicans must be represented equally among the 24
candidates, but judges from other political parties, or registered
decline-to-state judges, may also be considered.
Only retired state or federal judges who have not held elected partisan
office are eligible. Candidates must be registered with the same political
party they were registered with when they were first appointed to the bench,
and pledge not to seek elected office.
Candidates are then wittled down by the state’s legislative leadership. The
four state legislative leaders get to pick three candidates each from among
the 24 candidates selected by the Judicial Council. But there’s a catch – no
legislative leader can select a judge from his or her own party. So Fabian