CA’s court system must be adequately funded

California Civil justice system Courts Jury Service

Tom Scott is the Executive Director of California Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse

On March 23rd, the Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court delivered her annual address regarding the state of the California judiciary to the California Legislature.

While the state of the judiciary is improving, it has a long way to go. Here’s what the Chief Justice had to say: “You [the Legislature] pass bills that the Governor signs into law that judges and justices apply and interpret. Our collective work is intertwined by design and necessity. We absorb about 8 million case filings each year. The important work done here in these chambers and the Governor’s office – our laws – come to life and are interpreted, applied, and used every day in every court, all in the pursuit of fairness.”

However, the courts have seen cuts significantly impacting those seeking justice in our courts. Some courthouses have closed completely, while others have seen greatly reduced hours.

How large have these cuts been? More than $1 billion was cut for the court system’s budget between 2008 and 2013. These cuts to the judiciary are only going to have a larger impact on their ability to interpret and apply the laws that our legislature continues pass.

The impact of these cuts on the courts is big and everyone knows it. In July 2013, the courts system had eliminated 24 percent of its budgeted staff positions since the state budget crisis began in 2008.

Although these cuts have been partially undone ($180 million more is slated for the courts in the 2015-2016 budget) more must be done. Our legislature needs to make judicial funding a priority. Everyone in California deserves access to a well-functioning judicial system.

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Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse (CALA) is a nonpartisan grassroots movement of concerned citizens and businesses who are fighting against lawsuit abuse in California. CALA serves as a watchdog to challenge the abuse of our civil justice system, and engages the public and the media to deliver the message that lawsuit abuse is alive and well in California — and that all Californians are paying the price.


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