Sunday, May 18, 2008

By George

The front page of the LA Times today featured an interview with Ronald George, presiding justice of the California Supreme Court. The interview is unusual for three reasons.

First, the Times rarely seems to interview jurists -- and seldom do such interviews make the front page.

Second, it's unusual for a judge to comment on a just-decided case -- particularly one as monumental as Thursday's same-sex marriage decision. (The interviewer states that George skirted most questions about the decision, but he does describe, for instance, the scene when the decision hits the streets.) Traditionally, judges intend decisions to speak for themselves; they don't provide editorial comments. In part that's because future lawyers and courts will have to construe the decision's implications, and apply it to other factual scenarios; and any comments by the drafting judges might be used as guides to the jurists' intent.

Finally, it's odd because the Sunday Times generally eschews timely news stories. The Sunday paper focuses on long-term stories -- particularly since it goes on sale Saturday.

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