Baxter announces plans to step down from California
Last month, Justice Marvin R. Baxter announced plans to
retire in January after 24 years on the California Supreme Court. Baxter will
be the second justice to retire from the court in less than a year. Justice
Joyce L. Kennard stepped down April 5.
|Justice Marvin R. Baxter will follow Justice Joyce L. Kennard into retirement - AP photo
A number of publications wrote articles outlining Baxter’s
long judicial career and what two vacancies could mean for the court.
Angeles Times noted that Baxter, 74, is considered to be the court’s most
conservative member and outlined a list of contenders Gov. Jerry Brown might
consider to take his place.
Francisco Chronicle called him a “genial and hard-working jurist,” adding that he has been a
“reliable member of the conservative bloc on a court that has been closely
divided in recent years between conservative and moderate-to-liberal factions.”
The Sacramento Bee spoke with former
Chief Justice Malcolm Lucas who called Baxter a “solid person with
intelligence and perseverance.
“And at my vaunted age of 87, I can say that it is not too
bad just to sit back and contemplate life,” he told the paper. “But I know he
owns a classic 1958 Corvette that may get some more attention.”
Recorder (subscription only) offered a detailed
retrospective of Baxter’s life from his upbringing in Sacramento, career as a
prosecutor and years in private practice to his work on two of former Gov.
George Deukmejian’s campaigns and his appointment to the Fifth District Court
Jose Mercury News said Baxter’s “retirement paves the way for perhaps the most profound
shift in the state's high court since it turned conservative in the late
The Daily Journal (subscription only) quoted Santa Clara University School of Law professor
Gerald Uelmen, who called Baxter’s departure a “game changer.”
“Baxter has been consistently
the anchor of the more conservative wing of the court, so his replacement by a
more moderate jurist could form a new majority,” he said.