Supreme invisibility

Gay rights activists, legal scholars among the few paying attention to Corrigan, Kruger votes

The California Supreme Court may be getting paltry election coverage, but two justices are up for “retention,” meaning voters will either approve or deny a governor’s past appointment for another 12 years.

The most embattled of the two is Associate Justice Carol Corrigan, whose reconfirmation faces opposition from a number of LGBTQ groups.

Corrigan’s early career was spent as a prosecutor and then judge in Alameda County. In 1991, Republican Gov. Pete Wilson appointed her to the California First District Court of Appeal. Once Arnold Schwarzenegger was running the Golden State, Corrigan enjoyed another Republican appointment, this time to the Supreme Court. Her tenure became controversial just two years later, when she voted against legalizing same-sex marriage. Her dissenting opinion was on the losing end of a 4-3 vote.

In 2009, Corrigan voted to uphold Proposition 8, which defined marriage as between and man and a woman. Those opinions haven’t been forgotten. The San Diego Democrats for Equality, the Clairemont Democratic Club and the Lambda Democratic Club of Contra Costa County are all urging a ‘no’ vote on retaining Corrigan.

On the flip side, Corrigan has the endorsement of The Los Angeles Times and received praise for her 2017 vote to fix a loophole in the California Public Records Act, one that elected officials used to shield government-related texts and emails from reporters.

The other associate justice up for retention is the youngest on the bench, Leondra Kruger, who Gov. Jerry Brown appointed in 2014 to fill a vacancy left by the retiring Joyce Kennard. To date, Kruger’s most headline-grabbing ruling came in July when she was part of a 4-3 majority that found it unconstitutional for lower courts to force Yelp to remove negative reviews, even if a judge deemed those reviews legally defamatory.