Just days after we posted that women hold that position in 40% of the United States, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger tapped state appellate judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye (right) to succeed Ronald George, who resigned from the Chief Justiceship effective right after the New Year. The nomination goes to a state judicial commission and then to voters, for approval on the November 2 ballot.
Pleased to report that Cantil Sakauye is a 1984 graduate of the University of California, Davis, School of Law, my home institution. As an alum she's contributed her time to the King Hall Outreach Program, an intensive 2-year law school preparation program aimed at undergraduates who will be the 1st in their families to earn a bachelor's degree or who come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
Cantil Sakauye practiced as a Deputy District Attorney in Sacramento, then worked for the Office of Governnor George Deukmejian. She began her career on the bench in 1990, serving 1st on the state trial courts and, since 2005, as an Associate Justice for the state's Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.
Cantil-Sakauye would be the 2d woman to lead the state's highest court; the 1st, as we've posted, was Chief Justice Rose Bird. But as a Filipina-American, Cantil-Sakauye would become the state's 1st Asian American Chief Justice. Among the Associate Justices with whom she'd serve: Joyce L. Kennard, Kathryn Mickle Werdegar, and Carol A. Corrigan. Accordingly, the arrival of Cantil-Sakauye would make the Supreme Court of California (left), like that of 3 other states in the Union, a woman-majority bench.