January 24, 2012

Chief Justice and Assembly Leader Calderon trade barbs in advance of key vote on AB 1208

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the Chief Justice has leveled harsh criticism at the backers of AB 1208, the Trial Court Rights Act. If passed, the bill would substantially shift power and control over court funding from the Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) to local trial courts. Perhaps no one is as much of a lightning rod for such criticism as the bill’s sponsor, Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon. And, as we noted here, Calderon has done little to curry favor with the Chief.

In this recent post on Legal Pad, the Recorder’s legal blog, Cheryl Miller explains that tensions have not lessened as AB 1208 heads toward a January 31 deadline for a vote on the Assembly floor. According to Miller, the Chief recently told the Los Angeles Times’s editorial board that Calderon has used AB 1208 as “a hammer over my head for the last year.” She criticized the bill’s backers for springing the legislation on her after just 47 days in office, without discussion or consultation.

Calderon, for his part, is quoted as saying the Chief has refused to meet his demands to “distance herself” from the AOC and the troubled Court Case Management System project, which we last discussed in depth here. Perhaps most interestingly, Calderon claims he has the votes to pass the bill off of the Assembly floor. But, as noted here, the Judicial Council officially opposes the measure and, according to Miller, so do 43 out of 58 presiding judges.

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