Monday, August 23, 2010

Acclaimed novelist Michael Nava in historic judicial battle

As readers of La Bloga know, Michael Nava has excelled as both a writer and lawyer. A Phi Beta Kappa from Colorado College, Nava went on to earn his law degree from Stanford University in 1981. From there, he worked with the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office, a prestigious private appellate law firm, and then as a research attorney first with the California Court of Appeal and now with the California Supreme Court as a judicial staff attorney for Associate Justice Carlos Moreno. Nava also happens to be an award-winning author of nine books.

Nava has been running for a seat as a judge of the San Francisco Superior Court. If you wish to support or learn more about his candidacy, visit his official website. You may have read that his race, which involves a challenge to a sitting judge, has become a battle between the establishment and an attempt to bring more diversity to the bench. In the June 8th primary, he received the highest number of votes for San Francisco Superior Court, winning nearly 46% in a three way race and defeating the incumbent. However, because judicial candidates have to win a majority, Nava now have to go into a run-off in November against the incumbent. Still, he heads into November as the frontrunner.

I now share with you Nava’s most recent message to his supporters which will bring you up-to-date with the truly amazing race he is running:

Dear Friends:

The great abolitionist Frederick Douglass said, “People might not get all they work for in this world, but they must certainly work for all they get.” I began this campaign last October with a clear vision – that judges must be representative of the people they serve or else those people will eventually withdraw their support from the legal system. As a gay man and a Latino, I passionately believe in equal justice – the idea that the law protects the vulnerable as well as the powerful – because without it the majority would ride roughshod over minorities. That is why I am committed to the legal system and to making it work for everyone.

It is ironic then that, since I won the primary, a group of San Francisco judges have been orchestrating an intense, mostly back-room campaign to defeat me. Led by judge on the court of appeal and the presiding judge of the San Francisco superior court these judges have:

– Called a secret meeting of past presidents of the Bar Association of San Francisco to try to get them to sign a letter that supports my opponent and denounces me as a threat to judicial independence;

– Published front page op/ed pieces in San Francisco’s two legal newspapers attacking me for running against an incumbent judge;

– Committed to raise $300,000 for my opponent;

– Lobbied members of the Democratic Central Committee to withdraw its endorsement of me.

They have done this in support of a judge who is not representative of San Francisco’s values or diversity – a former big firm, corporate lawyer who was, until recently, a Republican who contributed to the campaigns of George W. Bush and John McCain, among other Republican candidates. Clearly, this effort to defeat me is not about my opponent’s qualifications but an attempt by the judges to intimidate any future challengers to them. It strikes as profoundly anti-democratic for these judges to take the position that an incumbent should never be challenged.

I am in for the fight of my life, but I am prepared to accept that challenge, but I can’t do it without you. More than ever, I need to get the word out to the people of San Francisco about my candidacy and that will take money. I am asking you again, knowing that we are in tough times, to make a contribution to my campaign. There is no other way of reaching the voters. If you will join me in this fight, I know we can win in November. Thank you for all your past support and encouragement.


Michael Nava

[NOTE: At a packed meeting of the San Francisco Democratic Central Committee on August 11, the motion to reconsider the party’s endorsement of Michael Nava's candidacy was defeated by a vote of 28 to 1. There is a lively account of the meeting at the Civic Center blog.]

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want to donate to this campaign but the link to Michael Nava's website gives no option. Where can I donate online?