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Judges and Judiciary,
Community News

Dec. 20, 2023

6 California judges honored by National Judicial College

Several judges were honored for adhering to the law and Constitution despite opposing public opinion, political pressure and personal threats.

The National Judicial College celebrated its 60th anniversary on Dec. 7 in Las Vegas by honoring 60 judges as courageous, six of whom are from California.

"We hope this list raises people's awareness of and appreciation for the thousands of steadfast judges who keep the promise of equal justice under the law every day, including those days when it would be more popular or convenient for them to do something else," National Judicial College president Benes Z. Aldana said.

The list was drawn from nominations submitted by alumni, faculty, staff and others associated with the NJC. An internal committee headed by Aldana made the final selections, relying almost exclusively on the examples of courage described by the nominators. Several judges were honored for adhering to the law and Constitution despite opposing public opinion, political pressure and personal threats.

Those from California honored were Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Marguerite D. Downing, Alameda County Superior Court judges Peggy F. Hora and Noël Wise, San Francisco Unified Family Court Supervising Judge Monica F. Wiley, California Public Utilities Commission Judge Jacob L. Rambo and Chief Administrative Law Judge California Department of Insurance Kristen L. Rosi.

Downing formed a countywide stakeholders workgroup to identify and eliminate barriers to reunification and participation in dependency cases. Hora established the second drug treatment court in the United States. Wise became the first California judge to write that all judges have an ethical obligation to speak out against racial injustice. Wiley spent most of her judicial career working in family law and working with system-involved youth to ensure they are both held accountable and have an opportunity and resources to take a different path.

Rambo withstood pressure from managers at a former employer to rule more favorably toward the agencies from which he heard appeals. He later disclosed extensive ex parte communications between the employer's counsel and the chief judge. NJC called Rosi a champion of judicial independence who guarded against potential political influence at California's Department of Insurance Administrative Hearing Bureau.


Douglas Saunders Sr.

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