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Judicial candidate's racial separatist past exposed

May 1, 2008 |  9:25 pm

It just goes to show what can happen if you don't pay attention to judicial elections. Los Angeles voters could unwittingly end up electing white separatist Bill Johnson to the court. Vote-by-mail ballots are available Monday, so it's important for anyone planning to vote anytime soon to first read an April 29 Metropolitan News-Enterprise profile on Johnson. The story by editor Roger Grace exposes the candidate as the author of a proposed constitutional amendment to reserve U.S. citizenship exclusively to white people "of the European race."

Last month The Times endorsed James Bianco for the Los Angeles Superior Court seat, saying that  Bianco was "impressive as a Los Angeles Superior Court commissioner and would make an excellent judge." We didn't mention Johnson, his opponent, who ran for Congress in Arizona in 2006 on an anti-immigration platform; we simply focused on the fact that Bianco is the better choice.

I did note in a blog entry the previous month that Johnson helped circulate petitions for Carson minister Ronald C. Tan, whose petition campaign forced six Latino judges to be put on the ballot to face possible write-in opponents (none apparently have stepped forward).

Grace writes that Johnson wrote a 1989 book, under the name James O. Pace, called "Amendment to the Constitution," backing what became known as the Pace Amendment. Here it is, in part:

No person shall be a citizen of the United States unless he is a non-Hispanic white of the European race, in whom there is no ascertainable trace of Negro blood, nor more than one-eighth Mongolian, Asian, Asia Minor, Middle Eastern, Semitic, Near Eastern, American Indian, Malay or other non-European or non-white blood, provided that Hispanic whites, defined as anyone with an Hispanic ancestor, may be citizens if, in addition to meeting the aforesaid ascertainable trace and percentage tests, they are in appearance indistinguishable from Americans whose ancestral home is the British Isles or Northwestern Europe. Only citizens shall have the right and privilege to reside permanently in the United States.

This would likely come as news to Reverend Tan, the Filipino-American minister who got Johnson to circulate petitions to help him oust Latino judges — so Tan could try to get Filipinos elected. Tan earlier claimed not to know that Johnson was active in the Ron Paul for president campaign; here's something else for him to be surprised about.

The MetNews story also notes that Johnson ran for Congress in Wyoming 1989 under the name Daniel Johnson in a special election to replace Dick Cheney, who had been named secretary of defense in the administration of the first President Bush. Times stories from the 1980s connect attorney Daniel Johnson with the League of Pace Amendment Advocates and identify him as the author of the Pace amendment.

So here's a candidate for judge who espoused (and may still support) disenfranchisement and deportation of non-whites, and who ran for Congress from two different states, once under a different name, while maintaining his law practice in Los Angeles.

(Full disclosure: I worked for Grace at the Metropolitan News-Enterprise for 11 years. But I wish I'd gotten this story before he did.)

Could voters elect Johnson? Yes, they could, if they don't learn anything about the candidates. The MetNews story — and, I hope, our link to it — will help voters make wise choices.

And in case there was any doubt, we still support Bianco, now more vociferously than before.

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