MOORLACH UPDATE — No, Not, or Nyet? — March 29, 2017

The joys of showing up or not? On Monday afternoon, I decided not to attend the Joint State of the Judiciary Session for the third year in a row.

Regretfully, the State Supreme Court and its Chief Justice, refused to hear Orange County’s lawsuit in regards to creating a massive debt without voter approval with the granting of retroactive defined benefit pension benefits (see MOORLACH UPDATE — California Rule Recuse? — November 28, 2016 november 28, 2016 john moorlach).

So, I’m not a big fan. Especially when it meant having to listen to another rant about what is happening on the national scene. The Daily Journal asked me for my impressions and they are provided in the first piece below.

I did attend the Senate Floor Session on Monday and we congratulated the San Clemente Triton football team for their CIF success. It’s always a treat to celebrate an Orange County victory. The OC Register provides the details in the second piece below.

Last Thursday, I argued against a Senate Resolution that was asking Congress to investigate Russia’s involvement in the Presidential election (something it is already doing) and requesting the release of the President’s tax returns. I addressed this item by providing the Federal Election Commission’s financial disclosure prepared by Donald J. Trump. It’s a balance sheet account that is 104 pages long, with very small print. It would be much more valuable than a tax return, which is an income statement.

I’m just not in the business of telling another level of government what to do, when our Legislature is doing a very poor job of running California, based on its own Balance Sheet (the 2016 CAFR was released today and the Unrestricted Net Deficit has not improved). Consequently, instead of encouraging a "no" vote, I encouraged a "nyet" vote. The Sacramento Bee’s Capitol Report caught it and it is mentioned in the third piece below.

Chief justice defends ‘rule of law’ in sharply-worded speech

By Malcolm Maclachlan
Daily Journal Staff Writer

SACRAMENTO — California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye gave an unusually fiery State of the Judiciary speech in the Assembly chambers on Monday afternoon, criticizing aspects of the federal immigration crackdown and casting the courts as the protectors of "the rule of law."

Cantil-Sakauye began her annual speech by thanking her colleagues and paying tribute to retiring state Supreme Court Justice Kay Werdegar. But she quickly veered into political territory. She noted that Gov. Jerry Brown recently stood in the same spot for his annual State of the State speech and spoke about "how California must preserve our values in a time of upheaval."

While the name Donald Trump never appeared in the speech, much of the text was clearly aimed at the new president and his immigration policies.

"We are governed by laws and rules, not by a monarch," Cantil-Sakauye said, adding, "The rule of law is being challenged."

The chief justice went on to describe how her Japanese-American in-laws, Jiro and Dorothy Sakauye, spent four years in internment camps during World War II.

"We have strength in the diversity of our residents," Cantil-Sakauye said, before describing several court cases that upheld the rights of immigrants and racial minorities.

Earlier this month, Cantil-Sakauye sent a letter to U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying she was concerned that U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agents were "stalking" people who entered the U.S. illegally at courthouses in California, which she said "should not be used as bait."

Despite being a Republican appointed by Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the chief justice’s speech was not well-received by some members of the GOP.

Senate Judiciary Committee Vice-Chair John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, said Cantil-Sakauye should "learn from" U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg and stay out of politics.

In July, Ginsburg said she regretted making a series of negative comments about then-candidate Trump; she has generally avoided political statements since then.

"That’s not her job," said Moorlach. "Her job is to review cases of import to the citizens of California."

"The judiciary feels threatened by some of the federal government’s actions, in particular by ICE agents showing up at courthouses," countered Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez Fletcher, D-San Diego. "She is appropriately defending her branch of government."

Cantil-Sakauye also touted the Judicial Council’s new online self-help directory for immigrants, which was unveiled earlier on Monday. The directory was the work of the California Immigration Information Resource Workgroup, which she announced on Feb. 1.

"We commend Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye for calling on California’s three branches of government to deliver on California’s promise of opportunity and fair treatment for all," said Natasha Minsker, director of the ACLU of California’s Center for Advocacy and Policy.

Much of the rest of the speech focused on areas of typical concern for State of the Judiciary speeches: legal reforms and the underfunded court system.

Court funding has remained essentially flat in Brown’s austere 2017-18 budget, which takes into account flattening state revenues and uncertainties with federal funds.

Yet Cantil-Sakauye also praised legislative initiatives on changing bail, fines and fees rules — efforts that some say could further cut into court funding.

Forty percent of traffic fines and fees go to the courts, but several Democratic legislators say both fines and bail unfairly penalize low-income people.


State champion San Clemente football team honored in Sacramento


State Sen. Pat Bates honored the San Clemente Triton football team alongside State Sen. John Moorlach and State Sent. Janet Nguyen.COURTESY OF LORIE LEILANI SHELLEYHTTP://WWW.OCREGISTER.COM/ARTICLES/STATE-747779-TEAM-SAN.HTML

Two players and the head coach from the state championship-winning San Clemente Triton football team returned to Sacramento Monday, March 27, to receive an honor in the state Senate.

State Sen. Pat Bates of Laguna Niguel spoke about the team’s first CIF State championship in 52 years on the senate floor. Coach Jaime Ortiz and players Brandon Reaves and Turner Tonkovich joined her.

“The win marked the end of a historic season for the Tritons,” Bates said to her colleagues.

“Maybe they can teach the Los Angeles Rams a thing or two about winning a championship,” she joked.

The honor came after the Tritons came back from a 17-0 deficit to Del Oro of Loomis. The Tritons won the game 22-17 at Sacramento State in December 2016.

“We are so proud of San Clemente’s football team for their achievements,” Bates added. “Their hard work and determination to win, especially when they were behind in the game, is an inspiration to us all.”

State Assemblyman Bill Brough of Dana Point also honored the team on the assembly floor.

“San Clemente football has one saying in town, ‘One town, one team.’ Now they can add something else to that saying: state champion,” Brough told his colleagues.

Contact the writer: snewell

Capitol Alert AM

WORTH REPEATING: “I encourage … a ‘nyet’ vote.” – Sen. John Moorlach, R-Costa Mesa, opposing a resolution calling on Congress to independently investigate President Donald Trump’s ties to Russia


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