July 27, 2010

Nominee for Chief Justice must secure court funding despite limited political experience

If confirmed as Chief Justice, Third District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will have the unenviable task of securing funding for the state court system despite ongoing budget woes. Her predecessor, Chief Justice Ronald M. George, had to lobby hard to keep courthouse doors open, and he was largely successful, save for the imposition of monthly furlough days, which only recently came to an end.

Does Justice Cantil-Sakauye have the political experience necessary to continue where Chief Justice George left off? She can draw in part on her experience as Governor George Deukmejian’s deputy legislative secretary and deputy legal affairs secretary from 1988-1990. And she may be able to draw upon her experience on the Judicial Council of California over the past two years. According to her official biography, she has been a very active member of the Judicial Council, serving as vice chair of the Judicial Council’s Rules and Projects Committee, chair of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch, co-chair of the Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group, and a member of the California Commission on Impartial Courts. She has undoubtedly become familiar with the budget issues facing the court system, but only time will tell whether her relatively brief schooling in Sacramento politics and the administration of the courts will be sufficient for Justice Cantil-Sakauye to win adequate funding for California’s courts in these challenging times.

Leave a Reply