I have written previously about the unconstitutionality of underfunding California's Courts, including a Daily Journal article posted here. And with every additional funding cut, I believe that the legislative and executive branches march further down the path of unconstitutional conduct. In the latest example of grevious injury to our Courts, the Los Angeles Superior Court has announced $30 million in additional cuts (about $70 million in prior cuts). These cuts include the loss of 56 courtrooms, layoffs of 100 additional non-courtroom staff (above 329 layoffs and 229 attrition-based reductions), and a significant reduction in court reporter availability.
It is my fondest wish that a victim of these latest layoffs, a litigant, and a judge will all step forward and challenge the constitutionality of starving a co-equal branch of government. Where are the checks and balances when one allegedly equal branch exists at the mercy of politicians that refuse to make the tough choices necessary to ensure, as a first priority, that the judicial branch is capable fo resolving the legal disputes it was created to resolve?
Regardless of whether you represent plaintiffs, or defendants, civil litigants or those charged with crimes, you cannot acquiesce to this relentless assault on fundamental, constitutional rights. This is not a political question. The California legislature is not constitutionally empowered to eviscerate the judicial branch.
Write your legislators. Tell them that they must discharge their constitutional obligations before any other consideration.
And no, this is not the end of my rant. It's just a pause...