Filipina American Selected as Chief Justice of Calif. Supreme Court

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger today announced the Honorable Tani Cantil-Sakauye as his choice for chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

“Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has a distinguished history of public service and understands that the role of a justice is not to create law, but to independently and fairly interpret and administer the law,” said Governor Schwarzenegger.

“She is a living example of the American Dream and when she is confirmed by the voters in November, Judge Cantil-Sakauye will become California’s first Filipina chief justice; adding to our High Court’s already rich diversity.”

Cantil-Sakauye has roots in Hawai’i.

Since 2005, Cantil-Sakauye has served as an associate justice for the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. Previously, she was a superior court judge for the Sacramento County Superior Court from 1997 to 2004 and a municipal court judge for the Sacramento County Municipal Court from 1990 to 1997. Cantil-Sakauye worked for the Office of Governor Deukmejian as a deputy legislative secretary from 1989 to 1990 and as a deputy legal affairs secretary from 1988 to 1989. She was a deputy district attorney for the Sacramento County District Attorney’s Office from 1984 to 1988.

Cantil-Sakauye is a member of the California Judicial Council, and is vice chair of the Rules and Projects Committee and Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group. She is a member of the Commission on Impartial Courts, chair of the Judicial Branch Financial Accountability and Efficiency Advisory Committee and president of the Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court.

“It is a privilege and a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve as chief justice of the California Supreme Court,” said Cantil-Sakauye. “I have had the distinct pleasure of being a municipal court judge, a superior court judge and an appellate court justice. Being nominated to serve on the highest court in California is a dream come true. I deeply respect the inspirational and visionary work of Chief Justice Ronald George and hope to build upon it. As a jurist, woman and a Filipina, I am extremely grateful for the trust Governor Schwarzenegger has placed in me. I hope to show young people what they can achieve if they follow their dreams and reach for their full potential.”

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, of Sacramento, earned a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis. Cantil-Sakauye is a Republican.

The vacancy will be created by the retirement of Chief Justice Ronald M. George on January 2, 2011. The compensation for this position is $238,010.

The Governor’s nomination for chief justice must be submitted to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. Once confirmed by the commission, the nominee will appear on the November 2nd ballot for voter approval.

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