John Pelander, chosen yesterday by Arizona Governor Jan Brewer as the newest member of the Arizona Supreme Court, has earned a rep as a prudent and conservative gent who probably won't set the world on fire with scintillating legal opinions. The 58-year-old Tucsonian was chief judge of Division Two of the Arizona Court of Appeals before his appointment. Before that, he had been a practicing attorney for 18 years, focusing almost exclusively on civil law -- insurance defense, employment law, commercial litigation and appeals. Yawn, yawn.
What caught our eye about Judge Pelander was some things he wrote in his application for the opening created by the retirement of Ruth McGregor -- an able jurist who will be missed.
Pelander took pains to note that, even though he is a white man born in the Midwest, he has taken pains over time "to interact with persons of color and other nationalities," whenever he has had the chance.
During his undergraduate days at Wittenberg College in Ohio, Pelander played a few years on the football team, where he "enjoyed the company of African-American athletes on the [field] and in the classroom."
More recently, the judge and his wife have gone to Mexico to help with painting and general maintenance of a pastoral residence there, and have provided housing for two Latino pastors on their visits to Tucson.
Pelander "also interact(s) weekly with an African-American gentleman whose upbringing and background are much different than mine, and I have learned and grown from his sharing his life story."
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