Friday, June 09, 2006

Having a Latvian name may be a problem

...if running for public office in Los Angeles. Judge's Loss Stuns Experts: Election system and the jurist's Latvian name are cited is the headline in today's LA Times.

Dzintra Janavs, who has been a judge for 20 years, lost reelection to Lynn Diane Olson, a bagel store owner who almost has not practiced law in last 10 years. Janavs was rated "exceptionally well qualified" by Los Angeles County Bar Association (one of only 2 candidates with that ranking, out of 28 candidates for 18 judgeships), Olson was rated "not qualified". The legal community is in shock. Observers speculate that some voters may have preferred a candidate with a standard English name over the one with a non-English name of unknown origin.

Ouch. I thought Los Angeles was an enlightened multicultural city in which having or not having a common English name does not matter.

H/t: Volokh Conspiracy

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