California Chief Justice Calls Proposed Budget Cuts Potential Civil Rights Issue
California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye held a press briefing on Monday to discuss current California Judicial Branch issues and challenges.
When asked about Governor Jerry Brown's proposed $200 million cut to the California Judicial Branch's budget, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye expressed concerns that the issue goes beyond the fiscal impact to the potential impact on civil rights.
"If you continue to chip away at the courts, to me, at some point it becomes a civil rights issue with access to the courts," said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye to a conference room full of journalists. "It is very troubling."
Though the Chief Justice's comments were probably not meant to be taken literally. It is becoming more challenging to file court documents at California courts as evidenced by the recent photo of the line just to get into the San Joaquin Superior Court below. If more budget cuts futher reduce court staffing and hours, access could become an issue in the literal sense.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was also asked about the California Court Case Management System (CCMS) which has sparked some debate this week between the Bureau of State Audits and the Judicial Council of California, Administrative Office of the Courts regarding whether or not to delay further CCMS implementations. The Chief Justiced stressed her support of moving forward with CCMS.
"It's the right direction for California," said the Chief Justice. "We have to move forward. We're California and we can do this."
A video of the entire press conference can be found by clicking here.