Chief Justice – Democratize the Judicial Council

Posted on July 14, 2012



As we continue to review much of the compelling public comment to the Strategic Evaluation Committee report we’re all left wondering, just as we wondered before when the SEC was appointed with a one year evaluation period-

Is this all a delay tactic with the hope that it will all blow over and time will heal all wounds? Or is this a valiant attempt to run out the statute of limitations before finally succumbing to calls for democracy so that a few really nice people who did some really bad things walk away?

What is it that permits an attorney to work in Minnesota, another one to work in Switzerland and have a scholar in residence, living in Virginia no less to remain on the AOC’s payroll? What is it that has Teflon Jack back on the bench in Shasta County after a second retirement?

What it is, is a leadership crisis. Our Chief Justice appears to be too submissive to lead, relying instead on the purported leadership of others.

Can you remember just one time since she has taken office where you heard the words “I’ve directed my AOC staff to”…… do……. anything? Where is the leadership?

Ultimately as Chief Justice, she is relied upon to make choices of whom will sit on the judicial council, making those choices from a small group of closely vetted judges and justices. They’re vetted by some of the same people that created this governance train wreck to begin with.

Do you believe that we’re going to suddenly start seeing some leadership from the judicial council or the chief justice with respect to implementing the provisions of the SEC report and stop our trial courts from dying off en masse?  We’ve all been patiently waiting for it, enduring survey and comment fatigue. The same consistent comments, the same consistent theme. And yet the lady in the ivory tower on the corner of McAllister and Polk appears to be oblivious to the fact that there actually might be a problem even though more than a hundred and fifty of her colleagues are publicly ringing the alarm bell, including the very committee she appointed to give her the answers she said she needed.

Well Tani, you have your answers.

You have more than 425 members of the Alliance of California Judges telling you there’s a problem and ironically, they are speaking with one voice.  There are more than 11o comments that indicate there’s a problem and I am guessing about a quarter of those are ACJ judges. You have the very committee you commissioned telling you there is a problem.

Good people that our public relies upon and important services offered only in our local trial courts are far more important than $1,900.00 per square foot courthouses, $2,500.00 light bulbs and zombieware. All of these associates of yours are trying to tell you in the most decorum filled, respectful manner possible and you’ve tuned them out.  You’ve permitted both the Judicial Council and your AOC divisions to try and undermine the SEC report by proxy, while either standing behind the curtain playing puppetmaster or permitting others to do so in your stead.

Supporting you are the “gee, I don’t know” and “I don’t think I appreciate the tone of the report” crowd. We’ll just call them the dead fish among your judicial council colleagues. The issue here is that the putrid stench from all of these rotting dead fish that have no leadership skills themselves is now bleeding over to the rest of the judicial branch. So do you really believe more of the same is in order? When you took office, there was much hope. Now even in your ancestoral homeland they have lost faith in your leadership – or lack thereof.

That stench is now spreading throughout the entire judicial branch and it is beginning to affect 38 million Californians adversely. Yet all you have to do is demonstrate just a little leadership. Not much. But as the leader of the largest judiciary in the western world, leadership seems beyond you.


When we start putting up the boss and the grateful dead, you can rest assured that we feel we have made some headways on the issues due to your personal awesomeness. Nothing is possible without you.