Law: Bird Watching

Charges of leaks and delays

California's Supreme Court was once held in high repute for its innovative and wise decisions. Keeping well above politics, the court carried out deliberations in the quiet privacy of its stately chambers. So much for tradition. The current court, headed by Chief Justice Rose Elizabeth Bird, 42, is about to have its linen laundered in public, black robes, starched collars and all. Last week the state's commission on judicial performance (a nine-member board established in 1960 to hear complaints against California judges) began televised hearings into alleged improprieties surrounding the court's handling of four controversial decisions.

At issue:...

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