Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Will California's Judicial and Legislative Branches Please Stop Fighting?

Family fights are among the nastiest clashes. Something about them tends to make many of us cringe. "Why are they battling, they are family?" we may wonder. "Can't they rise above this?" we might question. Something in us wants peace, not war.
I have had the same cringe-worthy feeling as I watch the inter- and intra-branch feud between California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, other members of the judicial branch and members of the Assembly, particularly Assembly Speaker John Perez (D) and Assemblyman Charles Calderon (D). Assembly Bill 1208 is at the heart of the current feud. It would take away power from the Judicial Council, which is controlled by the Chief Justice, and give local trial courts more power over spending decisions. AB 1208, which would disperse control of the state judiciary, is supported by a coalition of lower court judges and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), on behalf of courthouse employees. Cantil-Sakauye is understandably less than thrilled, but her means of delivering her message of displeasure has left something to be desired among many observers.

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