It is inconceivable that California Supreme Court Justice Janice Rogers Brown should be considered out of the mainstream [news story, May 30]. As a bipartisan group of 12 of her current and former state judicial colleagues, including all of those from the California Court of Appeal for the Third District, aid, "We know that she is a jurist who applies the law without favor, without bias and with an even hand."

Justice Brown has the ability to exercise judicial impartiality. In 2002 she wrote more majority opinions than anyone else on the California Supreme Court. The attempt to portray her as an ideological gargoyle does not work.

The real source of this criticism is Justice Brown's consistent application of the Bill of Rights, which includes the defense of property rights. She has rejected charges that she favors a return to the Lochner era, when state economic and social regulation were overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. This is perhaps one of the oddest allegations against her. Lochner's recognition of a substantive component to the due process clause was fundamental to decisions ranging from Roe v. Wade to Lawrence v. Texas -- decisions many of her detractors hold dear.

Justice Brown's decisions show an unwavering commitment to individual liberty and the Constitution. For example, in People v. Woods, she wrote the lone dissent in a case that upheld a prosecution of two defendants for drug offenses based on evidence seized without a warrant. Justice Brown observed, "In appending the Bill of Rights to the Constitution, the Framers sought to protect individuals against government excess. High in that pantheon was the Fourth Amendment guarantee against unreasonable searches and seizures, which generally forbids such actions except pursuant to warrant issued upon probable cause by a neutral magistrate."

These are not the words of an ideologue. They are the words of an accomplished jurist who deserves confirmation to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.


U.S. Representative (R-Calif.)