California Supreme Court Chief Justice Ronald M. George lamented Monday, in an op-ed published by the Los Angeles Times, on the subject of the "sacrifice" being made by LA County judges in waiving a day's salary each month because of the budget crisis.
What a bunch of wonderful people, right? Makes you want to pat them on the back, even.
A powerful right-cross will instead come to the minds of some when informed that these self-same judges managed to wrangle yet another raise from the County just a month or so earlier (they won't tell us exactly when, judges are allowed to keep secrets, didn't you know?), so even after the loss of a day's pay, they're still making more than they were before!
Our electronic thesaurus bellowed black smoke when asked for a word to express this degree of unadulterated gall.
It's disingenuous, to say the least, to be the cause of a financial crisis, then cry about it when it occurs ... as you snicker behind your hand with the knowledge that you're making more than you were prior to your great "sacrifice".
And by the way, who are the seven ultra-greedy judges who refused to waive the day's salary?
The Chief Justice's op-ed waxes on about the glories of our judicial system, with special accolades for the Judicial Council, another entity he heads. What he didn't say was that it was the Judicial Council, under his guidance, that wrote and presented Senate Bill SBX2-11 to the Legislature, the bill which tried (and failed miserably) to illegally confer retroactive immunity from criminal prosecution, civil liability and disciplinary action against all involved for their, literally, hundreds of thousands of felonies.
It's not even fathomable how the Chief Justice could have written these words: "Legislation in 1997 that allowed for statewide funding of the trial courts addressed historic inequities in the quality of justice dispensed among California's 58 counties." He admits that the current system was specifically constructed to prevent inequities, but purposefully omits revealing that the scheme to give the bonus payments to LA County judges was a deliberate artifice to return the inequity under the table ... in exchange for judges always siding with the County when it was involved in a lawsuit. Pretty sweet, no? No! It's CRIMINAL! (The payments were and are a serial misappropriation of funds under Penal Code Section 424, and others, and People v. Sperl (54 Cal.App.3rd 43 (1976)), and others, for example.)
We know it ... you know it ... and the rest of the country and world is slowly learning about it.
Right Trumps Might's map
The entirety of Mr. George's op-ed is a must-read ... for an example of a transparent gamble to elicit false sympathy for LA County's Superior Court judges who, despite the honor presumed by the wearing of the robe, are actually hiding behind its power for protection from consequences of acts committed by them that have been reviled by persons of true honor and decency since time immemorial.
With the discovery that the "immunity" provision of SBX2-11 wasn't properly codified (and was illegal in the first place, pursuant to the Constitution's prohibition against ex post facto laws), you no longer have any pretense of a legal leg to stand on. The bonus payments to judges were always illegal, and you knew it. But when objected to by Richard Fine, a distinguished taxpayers' advocate who's returned over a billion dollars to the people when portrayed truthfully, you made things even worse by trying to cover up this scandal. As far as we're concerned, the whole lot of you should resign immediately inasmuch as you've managed to corrupt all three branches of our government.
We taxpayers are owed the $300 million dollars that was stolen from us, and we want it back! We were played for fools for years as we were used as unwitting and unwilling parties to this mess by being made to foot the bill. It's over! Hello?! There is no way that judges of the lowest-level court in the state are worth salaries higher than justices of the U.S. Supreme Court. Four hundred and thirty LA County Superior Court judges need to get over themselves.
After what you've done to Richard Fine (whether actively or passively), and the lengths to which you've gone to try and keep this nasty secret hidden, we promise to do absolutely everything within our power to see that you are held accountable and subjected to the full force and effect of the law ... before an unbiased Federal judge and jury. (Yikes!) Mr. Fine honored his oath to protect and defend the Constitution. It has cost him everything. You swore the same oath, but not only do you lack the courage to honor it, you have dishonored it by purposefully acting to destroy our constitutional protections. May it cost you eternal shame.