A new Democratic majority-vote budget that includes a $150 million reduction for state courts has drawn strong criticism from state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye:
"This budget proposal is devastating and crippling to the judicial branch and to the public it serves. Courts have taken massive reductions over the past few years, and already took $200 million in reductions for next year."
"Courts affect every part of our state's life -- including convicting criminals and freeing the innocent; enhancing public safety; enforcing contracts; providing a forum for resolving business disputes; and protecting children, the elderly, consumers, the environment -- in short, protecting the people's rights."
"With these cuts courts cannot provide these fundamental services or protect the rights of Californians. By marginalizing the courts, California strikes a blow against justice. Courts are not a luxury. They are at the heart of our democracy. These cuts threaten access to justice for all."
The Democratic plan also calls for $150 million reductions each to the University of California and California State University systems. UC Office of the President spokesman Steve Montiel responded as follows:
"We are assessing the latest proposal from the state Senate, and it's too soon to say with certainty what the impact would be. But there's no question that additional cuts would not be good news for UC and the Californians it serves. The university already has taken steps to absorb a $500 million cut, and we have been preparing contingencies in the event of an all-cuts budget. Any further cuts would threaten our ability to provide access, affordability and academic excellence."