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State of California November 2, 2010 Election
Smart Voter Political Philosophy for George W. Nicholson

Candidate for
Justice, California State Court of Appeal; District 3

This information is provided by the candidate

A judge must not rewrite legislation to satisfy his, rather than the Legislature's, sense of balance and order. Good judges learn early that they are not "knight[s]-errant, roaming at will in pursuit of [their] own ideal of beauty or of goodness." Thus, Justice Nicholson believes judges should interpret and not make law. Making law is up to the state legislature and the governor, or to the people through the initiative process, not judges.

One of Justice Nicholson's judicial heroes, former Associate Supreme Court Justice Benjamin N. Cardozo of the United States Supreme Court is one of America's most eloquent and respected jurists. Justice Cardozo has left an indelible guide for good judges everywhere:

"The judge, even when he is free, is still not wholly free. He is not to innovate at pleasure. He is not a knight-errant roaming at will in pursuit of his own ideal of beauty or of goodness. He is to draw his inspiration from consecrated principles. He is not to yield to spasmodic sentiment, to vague and unregulated benevolence. He is to exercise a discretion informed by tradition, methodized by analogy, disciplined by system, and subordinated to `the primordial necessity of order in the social life.' Wide enough in all conscience is the field of discretion that remains." (Benjamin Cardozo, The Nature of the Judicial Process, at page 141 (1921).)

Justice Nicholson's long career unmistakably demonstrates that he has taken his original oath of judicial office seriously and adheres to it faithfully. He fully recognizes his solemn duty as a judge to honor that oath by: (1) Supporting and defending the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California against all enemies, foreign and domestic; (2) Bearing true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of California; (3) Observing principled deference to the other branches and levels of government, and to their distinctive constitutional burdens and prerogatives; (4) Adhering to stare decisis of the decisions of higher courts (this is commonly called sticking to precedent); and (5) Respecting the power of citizens through the initiative process.

Justice Cardozo provides one final, key element of Justice Nicholson's judicial philosophy: "But justice, though due the accused, is due the accuser also. The concept of fairness must not be strained till it is narrowed to a filament. We are to keep the balance true." (Snyder v. Mass. (1934) 291 U.S. 97, 122.) This has not always been so in California or America. (See, e.g., Nicholson, Condit, and Greenbaum, Forgotten Victims: An Advocate's Anthology, California District Attorneys Association (1977); Carrington and Nicholson, "The Victims' Rights Movement: An Idea Whose Time Has Come," 11 Pepperdine Law Review 1 (1984); Carrington and Nicholson, "The Victims' Rights Movement: An Idea Whose Time Has Come - Five Years Later: The Maturing of An Idea," 17 Pepperdine Law Review 1 (1989); Nicholson, "Victims' Rights, Remedies, and Resources: A Maturing Presence in American Jurisprudence," 23 Pacific Law Journal 815, 1992; Rapp, Carrington, and Nicholson, School Crime and Violence: Victims' Rights, 2d edition, Pepperdine University Press, 1992.)

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 8, 2010 19:52
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