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Chief justice: 'Crippling' California court cuts would be 'a blow against justice'

June 14, 2011 | 10:38 pm

Tani Cantil-Sakauye The chief justice of the California Supreme Court, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, said the severity of budget cuts to the courts that Democrats plan to push through the Legislature on Wednesday would undermine Californians' fundamental rights and deliver "a blow against justice."

In a sharply-worded statement, Cantil-Sakauye condemned the Democratic proposal to cut $150 million more from the court system's budget as "devastating and crippling to the judicial branch."

"With these cuts courts cannot provide these fundamental services or protect the rights of Californians. By marginalizing the courts, California strikes a blow against justice," the chief justice said in the statement. "Courts are not a luxury.  They are at the heart of our democracy.  These cuts threaten access to justice for all.” 

California's courts already had to cope with an across-the-board $200 million budget cut in March. In May, Gov. Jerry Brown's finance department said another $150 million reduction, which the Democrats are proposing, would likely lead to court closures statewide twice a month.

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-- Shane Goldmacher in Sacramento

Photo: Tani Cantil-Sakauye

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