Gov. Jerry Brown's Yale Law School classmate and close friend, Appellate Justice J. Anthony Kline, is mediating a judicial summit conference today that will attempt to heal the years-long political war that has divided the state's judiciary.
Kline served as Brown's legal adviser during his first governorship three decades ago, and Brown appointed him to the San Francisco-based 1st District Court of Appeal, where he is now presiding justice.
Today's meeting will involve Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye and a number of prominent judges, including two representatives of the California Alliance of Judges, which has been highly critical of the State Judicial Council and the Administrative Office of the Courts, which the chief justice heads.
The breakaway group has sponsored legislation to shift financial power from the AOC and the Judicial Council to local judges, alleging that local courts are being starved for funds while the two central agencies waste money on bureaucracy and an unworkable computer system.
The Judicial Council recently stopped work on the computerized case management system and Cantil-Sakauye is pressing the Legislature for more money, citing $653 million in state support reduction in recent years. But she has bitterly opposed the Alliance's legislation as a breach of the court system's independence.