(CN) – The California Judges Association, the state’s oldest organization of judges, has elected Judge David Rubin of San Diego County Superior Court as its 80th president.
Rubin, 53, assumes his new role as CJA president in a period of critical transformation and upheaval for the judicial branch with administrators and judges at odds over strained court finances.
Judicial discord that has been brewing for years amid mounting dissatisfaction with bureaucrats of the Administrative Office of the Courts culminated in the introduction of a bill that would shift more control of trial-court operation money and administrative issues to local courts.
But the entrance of AB 1208, or the Trial Court Rights Act, into the fray has fractured the judiciary even further, causing the CJA to remain neutral over whether to support the divisive bill, even as current CJA president, Judge Keith Davis of San Bernardino, traveled to Sacramento to independently lobby against it.
A poll of CJA membership revealed the majority of responding judges support the bill, but many others see it as an unnecessary intrusion into judicial-branch affairs.
Rubin declined to speak on AB 1208, but said he is “very proud of the conversation we’ve started around the issues of governance and how we as a branch view ourselves and I’m hopeful that we continue to keep that dialogue going, with our members and branch partners.”
“I want to say how honored and humbled I was by my colleagues on the board that have elected me to be president,” he added. “It’s a very exciting time, it’s an important time for the branch and I’m honored that they would allow me to be president in this important period.”
Rubin said the organization will continue to be involved discussions regarding court governance and budgets over the next year. “I want to make sure the CJA remains an important voice on the issue of budget and resources. Our No. 1 goal is to keep the courts operating,” he said, adding that the CJA “represents three-quarters of the sitting bench in the state including trial and appellate courts, and we have something to say about budget allocation. We will continue to do that as we have been doing, and I’m very excited to be a part of that.”
Before beginning his four-year tenure on the San Diego bench, where he currently handles a family-law calendar, Rubin served as deputy district attorney from 1987 to 2007, and was awarded Prosecutor of the Year by the San Diego District Attorney’s Office.
Rubin will be sworn into a one-year term on Sept. 18. He has been vice president of the CJA since 2009, and his term as president marks the first ever served by an openly gay judge. He is married to attorney Todd Stevens, a partner at Keeney Waite & Stevens of San Diego.