Hunting for Bird: Rose E. Bird, chief justice of the California Supreme Court, has roused the ire of state Republicans before and they're after her again. A court decision thwarting a Republican-drawn reapportionment initiative so stung GOP lawmakers that they'll try to recall the chief justice and her "ultra-liberal colleagues."
The court ruled Thursday that the redistricting plan drawn by GOP Assemblyman Don Sebastiani is unconstitutional, and canceled a special statewide election on it that Republican Gov. George Deukmejian had set for Dec. 13. This was the first time in 35 years that the state high court has ordered a measure off the ballot.
The initiative would have rewritten the Democratic-drawn congressional and legislative boundaries that give the Democrats majorities in the legislature and the congressional delegation.
Republican Assemblyman Pat Nolan issued a statement saying, "I will urge Californians to organize a campaign to remove Justice Bird and her allies from the court. Rose Bird and her ultra-liberal colleagues" engaged in "partisan activity" in the ruling, he said.
Conservatives, outraged by what they consider her soft views on the death penalty and punishment, have circulated recall petitions against Bird four times and the entire court once before but have failed to get enough signatures.
Assembly Minority Leader Robert Naylor said Republican leaders also will consider circulating a constitutional amendment for the November, 1984, ballot that would allow a new reapportionment by initiative. In addition, two Republican legislators said they would sponsor constitutional amendments to reduce the 12-year terms of the governor-appointed justices to six years and require them to stand for reelection.