A fundamental philosophical difference over how California courts should operate came to a head in San Francisco on Monday. The line of contention runs between those who would seek to centralize parts of the vast court system and those who defend the independence of California's local trial courts.
The Commission on the Future of the California Court System was set up last year by Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. She appointed roughly 50 voting members made up of judges, clerks and lawyers, and named Supreme Court Justice Carol Corrigan as the chair.
Early proposals coming out the commission have raised strong opposition from judges and labor unions over what they see as the outline of another incursion into local court operations by a centralized bureaucracy, a notion rejected by Corrigan.
"If you looked at a movie about a courtroom in the old west or in 'To Kill a Mockingbird,' you would recognize that courtroom as pretty similar to what we do most days in California," she said. "We're now in the 21st century. It's legitimate to ask, 'What can we do better?' Then we will do nothing more than give a report to the chief justice and it's up to her to decide what, if any, ideas have merit and what will she carry forward."
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