On March 23rd, the Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court delivered her annual address regarding the state of the California judiciary to the California Legislature.

While the state of the judiciary is improving, it has a long way to go. Here’s what the Chief Justice had to say: “You [the Legislature] pass bills that the Governor signs into law that judges and justices apply and interpret. Our collective work is intertwined by design and necessity. We absorb about 8 million case filings each year. The important work done her in these chambers and the Governor’s office – our laws – come to life and are interpreted, applied, and used every day in every court, all in the pursuit of fairness.”

However, the courts have seen cuts significantly impacting those seeking justice in our courts. Some courthouses have closed completely, while others have seen greatly reduced hours.

How large have these cuts been? More than $1 billion was cut for the court system’s budget between 2008 and 2013.These cuts to the judiciary are only going to have a larger impact on their ability to interpret and apply the laws that our legislature continues pass.

The impact of these cuts on the courts is big and everyone knows it. In July 2013, the courts system had eliminated 24 percent of its budgeted staff positions since the state budget crisis began in 2008.

Although these cuts have been partially undone ($180 million more is slated for the courts in the 2015-2016 budget) more must be done. Our legislature needs to make judicial funding a priority. Everyone in California deserves access to a well-functioning judicial system.