Judicial Wars: Justice George’s Demeanor Towards Critics Nothing New

It’s been interesting for me as I read the comments posted here on the blog and the emails that have been sent to me by people expressing their outrage, dismay, disappointment, and or shock at King Justice George’s speech before the legislature last week in which he attempted to label the over 200 judges in the Alliance of California Judges as a reactionary group of “strident and uninformed voices.” A quote from his speech to the Legislature last Tuesday.

The judiciary is not represented by the few strident and uninformed voices that occasionally emerge as e-mail strings on the fringe of the judiciary. Their efforts reflect nothing less than a thinly disguised agenda to dismantle the statewide administration of justice that all three branches of government have developed over the past several years.

And although recent articles that have focused on the lobbying efforts by King Justice George and his AOC and JC minions to scuttle an audit of the CCMS program may indicate that this is new territory for the King Justice, I need only refer you back to 2006 when King Justice George gave a speech before the California Judges Association when he told the assembled judges that he would not brook any attempt by judges to undermine his appointment power.

In the Spring 2006 edition of California Courts Review in which King Justice George was featured.

The line between local and statewide concerns is subjective, of course, and George’s location of the proper boundary in not above criticism. Even some of his supporters were dismayed when the Chief Justice told a 2003 gathering of the California Judges Association-an organization he had headed 20 years earlier-that any attempt to democratize selection of Judicial Council members and reduce his appointment power would be considered a “declaration of war.”

And King Justice George must have had some sort of psychic vision way back in 2003 because what he said he wouldn’t abide then is exactly what’s happening now.  Judges are speaking up about the way the Judicial Council conducts its business and how the members are appointed to the JC. From the KGO7 news piece that aired last Thursday.

Last month, Judge David Lampe from Kern County made a public appeal to the California Judicial Council to stop closing courthouses one day a month. It is a decision the council says it made because of the state’s budget crisis.

Lampe says his plea fell on deaf ears.

“I believe that a lot of judges felt they did not have a sufficient voice in the decision that closed our courts,” he said.

That decision was made by the 27 judges who sit on the judicial council. They make statewide policy and administer the multi-billion dollar budget for California’s courts. Members of the judicial council are appointed by the chief justice of the state supreme court, who also presides over its meetings. The council’s staff is called the AOC, short for Administrative Office of the Courts.

The court closures and employee furloughs have triggered an open revolt against the council by some of California’s 1,700 judges.

“A very insular, elite group of folks has run this branch for now 15 years or so,” Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Charles Horan.

That’s why, dear readers, you shouldn’t be surprised at King Justice George’s recent, and perhaps future, actions. The man basically said then that any form of opposition or dissent would be seen as a “declaration of war.” As the saying goes. All is fair in love and war. And all indications are King Justice George is willing to prove that old adage true.

4 responses to “Judicial Wars: Justice George’s Demeanor Towards Critics Nothing New

  1. You know I liken the shock, disbelief and anger on this blog at the CJs demeanor towards the opinions of the Judges and Justices in the branch as not so much as never having witnessed or hearing this behavior before, but more that most folks would never even consider acting this way toward a collegue who is voicing an opposing viewpoint. Especially when someone is supposed to be the so called leader of the judicial branch and behaves in such a manner, it is always a shock, not a loss of memory.


  2. The CJ comes off like the bully on the playground who stands guard at the swing set so only his friends get to swing and stands at the bottom of the slide trying to frighten the kids at the top into turning around and retreating back down the ladder. Then some new kids transferred in and asked him to share. They were funnier, smarter and better looking (the ACJ). Now the bully got really mad and threw sand. It turned out to be a bad idea. The End.

  3. versal-versal

    This whole thing is pretty sad. The Chief is an excellent jurist. His legal opinions are balanced and fair. Many of his ideas for improving justice are also progressive and innovative. The sad part is that he is ruining all of that with his unwarranted attacks on anyone who disagrees with him. The outstanding article by C. Miller of the Recorder shows this is a Chief who will never tolerate dissent or do the right thing and open the branch up to more democratic views. In a time of crisis, the Chief should be receptive to the many ideas of the well intentioned Judges and dedicated employees of our branch. Each time the Chief attacks ,the membership of the Alliance of California Judges grows larger and the legislature more concerned. I respectfully call upon the Chief to democratize the Judicial Council and when that doesn’t happen for the legislature to commit to a significant oversight and review of the AOC and its operations. Thanks!

  4. Today the California Supreme Court announced a decision what is certain to change the state for generations.

    In a 7 to 0 decision the Supreme Court announced that it was eliminating the
    Executive and Legislative branches and was appointing the Administrative Office of The Courts ( the AOC) to replace them.

    The Court said that it was taking these steps to modernize the Government and to make sure there was “One Voice” speaking for all of the branches. “We just cannot have these fiefdoms from all over California trying to represent the taxpayers” said the Chief Justice.

    When asked why the AOC was being given the responsibility of running California the Chief Justice said, and we quote,”The AOC along with its justice partners and justice stakeholders has been running me and the Judicial Council for years. Therefore, I cannot see why they cannot run the other two branches.”

    The decision was only minutes old when the Governor wondered what was going to happen to him. Upon reflection he thought that maybe the decision was to his benefit as he never liked Sacramento anyway and it would be good to be back in Southern California making movies.

    The Legislature was in an uproar. The Chief Justice tried to calm them by announcing that they could stay on as figueheads and make speeches at their current salaries for the remainder of their lives. This did not seem to satisfy them. They all seemed to prefer the old messy democratic system whereby they represented the taxpayers.

    The AOC announced three economic decisions within 6 hours of the decision.

    The first decision was that all of the courthouses in California would be replaced forthwith. The construction trades unions were given a promise that no courthouse would be built at less than $1200.00 a square foot, adjusted upwards for inflation.

    The second economic decision was that an additional 3 billion dollars would be spent for CCMS which was now due for completion in 2025.

    In its third decision the AOC announced that all AOC supervisors would receive a pay raise of 100% while everyone else in the AOC would take a a 30% pay cut. “In these touch economic times someone has to sacrifice” said Mr. Vickrey.