The Judicial Council's committee on legislation voted Thursday to throw its support behind a controversial law that would allow the council to move five vacant judgeships from one county to another.
The committee had delayed the vote for a week, reconvening with new language it hoped would assuage concerns from the state's presiding judges who questioned encoding the council's authority to reallocate judgeships, especially in such broad terms.
"It's safe to say that the presiding judges statewide are divided on this issue," said Presiding Judge Brian McCabe of Merced County, who represents the state's 58 presiding judges as chair of the council's Trial Court Presiding Judges Advisory Committee. He told the legislation committee that he had polled the state's presiding judges and received some "very vehement" opposition to the idea. "There are a number of competing interests and concerns," he said. "The concern is this is a new arena we are stepping into, unprecedented, and it has people nervous."
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