The Judicial Council returns to control of public comment

Posted on December 8, 2012


Free speech continues to be one of the pillars that holds our democracy together. During the George \ Huffman years, there was no such thing as free speech in council meetings. Your comments needed to be submitted and pre-approved in advance of the public meeting. It’s called prior restraint and it is wrong for any government agency to engage in. In fact, it should be unlawful.

During the beginning of the Cantil-Sakauye administration they touted transparency and accountability and the Chief Justice suspended the title ten rules (10.6d and 10.6e) that insisted upon prior restraint. In case any of you haven’t already figured this out, those who have lost control of the message are out to regain control of the message. First, it was Justice Harry Hull who was tasked with intercepting certain public information requests and creating additional barriers to those requests by insisting that they be hand written with your signature and snail-mailed personally to him. Second, it was with this proposed new rule of court that suggests that speaking with anything but one voice is an ethics violation.  Now, prior restraint of speech has returned to the star chamber.

The suspension of title ten rules has been lifted, prior restraint has returned and is alive and well in the star chamber just as the latest boondoggle over the long beach courthouse surfaces. But then again, ’tis the season for budget politics and we can’t permit any audience that might be inclined to speak with anything other than one voice because someone important might be listening.

While we agree that the new Chief Justice has been pummeled since she took office, it wasn’t free speech that did her in. What did her in was her continuing the policies of the former George administration and her insistence of keeping the same players on the field despite the overwhelming evidence that this bunch of yahoos has caused more damage to the court system than just about anyone else in the history of the California judiciary.

Nothing has changed in that regards. These yahoos continue to tarnish the reputation of the judiciary with the blessing of the Chief Justice. Attempting to clamp down on dissent hasn’t quieted us and it is us that has led the charge for meaningful reforms. We won’t be silenced until a democratically elected council indicates to us in writing that our services are no longer needed.

No, they don’t have to put such a request above their signature, they just have to make the request as a democratically elected body. Yes, we will accept an email request.

There is now a concerted assault on dissent in the judicial branch and for some reason they believe that this will work. After all, didn’t it work swell under AOC Watchers reign while they were blowing holes in King George? The prior restraint bit lent credibility to AOC Watcher and we can plainly see our readership numbers rise again as they clamp down on dissent.

It didn’t work the first time. All it did was anger people. And we would expect that it will anger people again as the Judicial Council returns to feverishly working to control the message. Do you see the pattern? What are your thoughts?