California Chief Justice Emphasizes Collaboration With Legislature

In a major speech, California's chief justice talked about the need for funding to address court closures which deny Californians access to justice. "California faces a different civil rights crisis. It's not just about the law. It's about access to it."
News Story (California)

Maria Dinzeo
Courthouse News Service
March 17, 2014
Link to story

Tags: Courts, Funding: State & Local, Legal Needs


With an impending audit of the Judicial Council and its bureaucracy, California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye played up the need for more collaboration with the Legislature and the governor in her state of the judiciary address.

“Keen listeners may have noticed that I have yet to mention the need to properly fund the judicial branch,” she said, drawing laughter from the Assembly floor. “We have a lot of catching up to do. And we want to be a partner in fair and collaborative solutions, just as we were a partner in reductions.”

The judiciary has seen $1 billion in cuts since 2008, leading to court closures and layoffs by the hundreds. In a similar theme to last year’s address, Cantil-Sakauye used historical context, in this case, the 50-year anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, to show how strained judicial resources can translate to a denial of justice.

“Court closures have deprived more than two million Californians access to justice to a local courthouse,” she said, referring to some California residents being forced to drive hours to an open branch for court hearings.

“We face astonishing and harmful delays in family matters, business cases, for wrongful termination, and discrimination across the board. California faces a different civil rights crisis. It’s not just about the law. It’s about access to it.”