Former Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye recently spoke at a Contra Costa County Bar Association program called “Behind the Judicial Curtain and in the Robing Room.” Video of the event is here.

She began her talk with a discussion of the judiciary’s relationship with the executive and legislative branches. Saying “it’s always a separation of powers challenge,” Cantil-Sakauye claimed that, despite being “incredibly well intended,” the other branches often “get out of their lane.” Later, remembering some skirmishes with legislators about the State Bar dues bill, she deadpanned, “thank goodness for term limits.”

Most of the former Chief’s lecture, however, dealt with the superior courts, Courts of Appeal, and the Supreme Court, and tips for practicing in each. She discussed things such as the importance of making a good record in the trial court and how to make the most of your oral argument time in the Supreme Court.

Cantil-Sakauye also discussed judicial ethics (including about the Commission on Judicial Performance and the Supreme Court’s Committee on Judicial Ethics Opinions, but nothing about the U.S. Supreme Court’s problems) and the State Bar. About the latter, she said “the Legislature needs to leave the State Bar alone for at least two to three years and let it get its business in order.” The former Chief Justice additionally asserted that the State Bar “needs to raise dues” to cover the costs of a new computer system and to hire additional staff.