Sandoval seeks to bring diversity to Superior
District 11 Supervisor Gerardo Sandoval filed papers Thursday
at the San Francisco Department of Elections officially declaring
his candidacy for Superior Court Judge.
Photo by Luke
February 2, 2008
District 11 Supervisor Gerado Sandoval signed documents at City
Hall Thursday launching his campaign to become a Superior Court
judge and to bring more diversity to the bench.
Sandoval argues there is an "appalling lack of diversity"
amongst the 63 judges currently serving in the Superior Court.
"You have judges who predominantly come from downtown law
firms where they practice business law and whose clients are large
corporate entities," Sandoval told Fog City Journal.
Sandoval said he believes that these judges' backgrounds "do
not adequately reflect San Francisco," which prevents them
dispensing effective justice. "You often hear attorneys who
represent small clients complaining that the judges do not have
the appropriate sensitivity to their cases," he said.
"The law is not created in a vacuum. The law is not fact,
but rather reflects the life you have had," Sandoval continued.
"When judges are appointed to the bench who are monolithic
in background it's a disservice to the public and government."
Sandoval said the Superior Court should include different perspectives
to properly reflect the community.
"We need a bench that has lawyers from family law practice
as well as corporate law, people who come from juvenile law practice
as well as criminal law, people who work in small practices as
well as big practices," he said.
He clarified that he isn't calling for a more progressive court,
saying "It's not a question of Progressive or Republican
or Democrats but rather, it's a question of different points of
you need republicans, you need progressives, you need
people of all types."
Sandoval criticized the current system of Governor-appointed
judges who continue to serve unless challenged at the end of each
6-year term, saying this prevents diversity in the court.
"The last four governors were not very likely to give you
[a diverse] kind of experience and viewpoint," he said.
This "not particularly democratic" selection is maintained
because "very few appointments are challenged," states
Sandoval on his website. He believes elections must be used to
achieve a more diverse judiciary, telling Fog City Journal that
"Judicial appointments by governors have left us no choice
but to exercise the safeguard given to us under the California
Constitution of going to the voters."
Sandoval, who terms out of his District 11 seat on the Board
of Supervisors this year, will challenge incumbent Republican
Thomas A. Mellon who has been serving for 12 years. Mellon was
appointed in 1994 by former Governor Wilson after 18 years practicing
private business litigation.
"I'm sure he will put up a good fight," Sandoval commented,
recognizing that Mellon has reached his current position because
he has significant resources and friends.
"But certainly I feel good about my chances," Sandoval
added. He indicated how his role as Supervisor has helped prepare
him: "We write laws here [at City Hall], that's what we do,
and I'm going to take that experience to the bench
that we do is a quasi judicial function."
Sandoval's campaign is endorsed by seven members of the Board
of Supervisors, including Tom Ammiano, Bevan Dufty and President
Aaron Peskin, and by San Francisco State Senator's Carole Migden
and Leland Yee.
Should he be elected, Sandoval has stated he will complete his
full term as Supervisor before joining the judiciary in January
Judicial elections will take place on June 3rd.
Sandoval pledges his oath of office to campaign staffer Max Seigel.