California Chief Justice Assails Legislature Over Budget Politics


California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has assailed the state assembly for passing a bill that would strip power from the Judicial Council she controls, prompting opponents to suggest her tone was inappropriate for the state’s top judge, reports the Sacramento Bee. The exchange increases the heat around Assembly Bill 1208 and the deep cuts courts have been asked to take during the state’s budget crisis. On Thursday, the interim administrative director of the court system resigned, saying his position has become a “lightning rod for controversy.”

In a speech to the state’s presiding judges last week, days after the Jan. 30 vote on AB 1208, Cantil-Sakauye said she was “greatly dismayed” at the “meritless, false claims” in the floor debate. “It’s one thing to lose an argument based on merit,” Cantil-Sakauye told the judges. “It’s another thing when the facts are not represented.” She said she expressed her displeasure after the vote in a phone conversation with Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, who supported the bill. She also sent Pérez a list of 16 false statements made during the floor debate.

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