Thumbs down to the Obama administration for failing to nominate a replacement for U.S. District Judge Anthony W. Ishii, who moved to senior status 14 months ago. Meanwhile, Fresno's federal courthouse labors under one of the highest caseloads in the nation and, as The Bee's John Ellis reported on Dec. 28, judicial employees there anxiously await Ishii's replacement. Don Fischbach, a Fresno attorney who chaired a screening committee of potential nominees set up by U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer, told Ellis that the committee long ago finished its work.
Thumbs up to Paul Lo, who was appointed on Dec. 27 as a Merced County Superior Court judge. Lo, a Merced resident and attorney for 20 years, is the first Hmong-American judge appointed in the United States, according to Gov. Jerry Brown's office. Lo, 45, told the Merced Sun-Star that he didn't speak any English when he came to the United States at age 11, but his hard work and sacrifices made by his parents enabled him to graduate from UC Davis and the UCLA School of Law. Lo replaces retiring Judge Hugh M. Flanagan.
Thumbs up to the Red and Nancy Arnold Foundation for its $1 million gift to Hinds Hospice. The gift will pay for services in Madera County. The foundation, which is funded by the estate of Robert C. "Red" Arnold and his wife, Nancy Pennycook Arnold, also provided Madera Community Hospital with gifts of assets totaling $3 million in September. Other recipients include the Friends of Madera Animal Shelter, Madera Rescue Mission and Madera County Historical Society.