As the legislature reconvened this month, California’s judges resumed their civil war over money and power, reports the Sacramento Bee. It pits Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and the State Judicial Council, along with one faction of trial and appellate judges, against a rebellious faction, organized as the Alliance of California Judges, over how to allocate pain as the courts adjust to reduced financing.
An early political test for the combatants is Assembly Bill 1208, a rebel-sponsored bill that faces a deadline this week for approval. The measure, which would strengthen the authority of local judges, has been stalled for months as both sides ramped up their lobbying. For a profession that places high value on decorum and what’s called “judicial demeanor,” the public and private politicking has gotten downright nasty at times, with the contending factions exchanging accusations of bad conduct. The rebel alliance has produced a 20-page white paper that lays out in detail what it regards as misappropriation of operational funds for the courts that leaves them unable to cope with criminal and civil business.