27 Jun, 2011
American Bar Association Urges Other Approaches to Californian Budget Crisis
The ABA is speaking out strongly against proposed additional cuts to the California courts budget, calling them ‘disastrous’.
In a letter sent last week to Gov. Edmund (‘Jerry’) Brown and leaders of the California State Assembly, American Bar Association President Stephen N. Zack said the following:
“In the face of crisis, some facts become clearer than ever. One such fact is that you cannot —and must not — cut justice any further.
“We recognize that the state of California is facing enormous, difficult and momentous budget decisions. But the recent attempt to slash yet another $150 million from the state courts budget is disastrous. One example is the impact the proposed cut would have on the San Francisco Superior Court alone. How is a court supposed to operate after losing nearly half its staff to layoffs?
“We know this is unacceptable to you, and to everyone who shares a belief in individual rights, liberty and fairness. The American Bar Association praises your veto of the budget proposal containing these cuts. We urge all California leaders to come together for better solutions and long-term reform.
“The ABA strongly supports state adoption of judicial branch budgeting that ensures adequate, stable, long-term funding of the courts in all economic conditions. This issue is so critical that the ABA this year formed a Task Force on Preservation of the Justice System, chaired by David Boies and Theodore B. Olson. The association is prepared to provide any appropriate help in addressing this crisis. And we urge you in the strongest terms possible to not allow any further budgetary attacks on the state’s already besieged system of justice.
“Court underfunding results in delays and the elimination of services that shred the fundamental American promise of equal justice under law. Protecting courts protects the people and our constitutional democracy. We are all committed to that.”
With nearly 400,000 members, the American Bar Association is the largest voluntary professional membership organization in the world. As the national voice of the legal profession, the ABA works to improve the administration of justice, promotes programs that assist lawyers and judges in their work, accredits law schools, provides continuing legal education, and works to build public understanding around the world of the importance of the rule of law.