Justice Delayed is Justice Denied

William Gladstone was quite the powerful man in British politics back in the 19th Century. Four times the prime minister, and hardly a screaming progressive, he was known for slashing government spending and his abhorrence of the income tax. (Update: As pointed out in the comments, liberals back then were laissez faire. So, Gladstone was a liberal, just not in any recognizable form today.)  Yet, even he understood the importance of justice to a country’s legitimacy and the fact that it must be swift.

Yesterday, the California Judicial Council voted to close all state courts on the third Wednesday of the month. Everything just stops for one day per month. Right in the middle of the week, perhaps to make a point, state courts simply will not function. No murder trials, no contract disputes, no family courts. Individual judges will likely remain on call for critical matters, but the system will grind to a halt. It’s not a pretty result, but in the end, closing a $400+ million gap was simply too challenging without the closure.

This is an untenable result. What have we become? Does living within our means really mean sinking to 3rd world status? Clearly, this all-cuts budget will, sooner rather than later, result in a state that simply does not work for its citizens.

As we move forward, Californians are slowly realizing what just happened. This is the result of an all-cuts budget, and Arnold is now taking some of the political heat. But the question is will this cause a change in voting behavior.  Listen, nobody in their right mind thinks John and Ken and their Zombie Followers are going to change their stripes.  The question is whether that mushy middle will put 2 and 2 together.

But while electing more Democrats would be helpful, it is simply not enough. Even electing better Democrats will be insufficient to ultimately rectify our problems.  The rot at the top has sunk so deeply into the system, the whole thing is collapsing.

6 thoughts on “Justice Delayed is Justice Denied”

  1. I was at a bar association meeting recently and the presiding judge in this county told us that the reason they are doing it on Wednesday is that they were worried that a Friday or Monday would leave police in a position where they had to release people because they have 48 hours to arraign them. I’m not sure what happens on regular three day weekends, but I guess these furloughs have more to do with the court staff than the judges, whose salaries are constitutionally protected….

    Anyway, this could have been worse. It could have been that each county did a different furlough day. Because filing deadlines are now (at least in civil) keyed to “court days” (i.e. days the court is open), this will make calculating deadlines that much harder, but at least it’s uniform.

    I think the courts will now have to seriously consider scaling back the fast track system.

  2. In fact, there’s even an entire brand of liberalism called Gladstonian liberalism. But this was back when liberalism meant laissez faire and free trade.

    Gladstone was replaced by a generation of “New Liberals” who understood that industrial capitalism had replaced government as the source of danger to individual freedoms. Hence, prime ministers like Asquith and Lloyd George created the first version of the British welfare state (as opposed to the post-1945 welfare state crafted by the Labour Party), progressive taxation, and were some of the earliest converts to Keynesian economics (Keynes himself was a lifelong New Liberal).

    Just nitpicking a bit.  

  3. “What have we become? Does living within our means really mean sinking to 3rd world status?”

    Lets not lose perspective here. These cuts are awful, but suggesting we are sinking to third world status seems a bit out of touch. Look at our living standards, life expectancy, all of our luxuries. I’m not sure I understand your comparison.

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