The Judicial Council’s Extreme Makeover

Posted on June 28, 2014

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For those of you who work for or have ever worked for the AOC as well as many of you in the courts, a move made this week to change the name of the administrative office of the courts is laughable and serves only to feverishly repaint the titanic just before it dips below the surface.

Throughout the above video you’ll note that the chief justice, justice Miller and judge Jahr make consistent references to the judicial council being the defacto board of directors for the administrative office of the courts. But they wish to change the name and the name alone and continue to delegate their board of director responsibilities to another board of directors and assistant directors at the AOC.

Admittedly, the AOC has always been the administrative offices of the judicial council but their internal structure which will apparently remain unaltered if you listen to the video, is that the chief justice appointed board of directors on the council will continue to delegate every function short of actual policy decisions to the board of directors that sit at the heads of the various divisions and continue to pay many of these people more than the judges and justices make.

No heads will roll. No effective reorganization of the various AOC divisions will occur to ensure that judicial council directors are directly over AOC divisions. Instead, they pledge to maintain, through a stated “no substantive changes in the organizational structure” division directors and assistant directors to run the day to day operations of the AOC by simply rebranding them.

Astonishingly, there is also admission that the AOC isn’t a legally formed entity anyways and that’s another good reason to change the name of the organization.

If one looks at the litigation record, any time the judicial council and the AOC have been named in a lawsuit, the AOC works to quickly dismiss the judicial council from the litigation and has been successful in doing so time and time again.

Frankly, we’re a little disturbed by the change from a litigation standpoint because of judicial immunity. By supplanting a group of judges and justices as the legally organized entity, doesn’t that give absolute immunity to the agency whose name is about to change? Under those conditions, what court in the land would even bother to hear a complaint against a group of judges and justices?

If you think things were bad before they’re about to get a whole lot worse unless and until the council itself is democratized.