Los Angeles Superior Court expects to close 56 courtrooms and fire nearly 350 people by the end of this month. California’s highest-ranking justice spoke out against the budget cuts that prompted those changes during Tuesday's Beverly Hills Bar Association meeting.
The state’s judicial branch faces $544 million in proposed budget cuts for the next fiscal year and, in response, trimmed its support for its court system last year by about $350 million.
Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California State Supreme Court told an audience of attorneys that these cuts would hamper the courts’ core mission: applying and interpreting laws.
"So, we’re seeing an inability to develop the rule of law because certain cases aren’t coming in" because of courts with closed civil or reduced hours, says Cantil-Sakauye.
The chief justice has argued against state budget cuts. But a recently released report she commissioned puts up a tough counter-argument, calling the state agency that runs California courts “dysfunctional” and “top-heavy.”
L.A.'s Superior Court will cut $30 million from their budget by the end of this month. That includes shutting down a juvenile justice program.