Thursday, March 30, 2017

Chief Justice: 'We are living in a time of ... unprecdented polarization'

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sskauve being interviewed by KQED-TV.

SHE'S A REPUBLICAN, but California's Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, is not hesitating to strongly criticize Donald Trump's immigration policies. 

In her State of the Judiciary address Monday (March 24), the Filipina/American justice said that the rule of law was being "challenged" amid the administration's immigration crackdown.

The address followed a letter that she sent earlier this month criticizing federal immigraiton authories for using courthouses as "bait" to arrest undcocumented  immigrants. A few days later, she criticized Trump's comments about federal judges who ruled against his poorly written executive orders on travel restrictions from six predominantly Muslim countries.

In a departure from her usual State of the Judiciary addresses that she usually uses to outline the budget needs of the state's judicial system, Justice Cantil-Sakauye  told the state’s lawmakers that “the rule of law means that we as a people are governed by laws and rules, and not by a monarch.”

“We are living in a time of civil rights unrest, eroding public trust in our institutions, economic anxiety, and unprecedented polarization,” she said. “Our values, our rules and our laws are being called into question, and all three branches of government and the free press are in the crosshairs.”

In an interview for KQED, she recalls the tipping point for her was an incident in Pasadena, CA. where ICE agents arrested an attorney's clients on the steps of the courthouse. "Courthouses are where we encourage to come for due process as witnesses, as victims, and that would have a chilling effect." People will no longer report, crime will go unreported in the community and they won't come to the court as bad guys, she said.

During her address to a joint session of the California Legislature, the chief justice, whose parents worked as agricultural workers in Hawaii, recalled her husband’s parents who were held at U.S. internment camps for Japanese/Americans for four years during World War II.