Three Large-State Court Leaders Bemoan Funding Cuts

Chief justices from California, New York and Texas joined three federal judges Thursday in bemoaning court funding nationwide. The group was part of an American Bar Association conference in San Francisco, participating in a panel discussion called “Are Courts Dying? The Decline of Open and Public Adjudication.” The California chief justice actually said she was “afraid” to see the future, which is true enough but sidesteps the fact that many people are afraid of the present.
The ABA website coverage also noted that the cuts have been going on for years, even though they may have finally bottomed out: “While budget cuts have severely hit the justice systems of the nation’s three most populated states, each top judge offered some encouragement. A study last fall by the National Center for State Courts indicated after four years of constant reductions, funding in most states has stabilized if not increased.”
The Bay City News website reported that “California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said she had reluctantly supported some increases in court fees as ‘desperate measures’ in the face of deep funding cuts that have resulted in the closure of 40 courthouses and 77 courtrooms statewide.
The BCN also reports that “… judges also said public access to courts is impaired not only by funding cuts but also by the high cost of lawyers in civil cases and the so-called “outsourcing” of adjudication. Examples of outsourcing, they said, are the use of private judges for those who can afford it and the use of mandatory, closed-door arbitration instead of open courts to resolve consumer disputes. About 8,000 lawyers and guests are attending the ABA meeting, which continues throughTuesday.


Read the Bay City coverage via the San Francisco Appeal here.

See the ABA website daily coverage of the ongoing meeting here.