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Governor Names Choice to Head State Supreme Court

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(Sacramento, CA)
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
The Governor has chosen Tani Cantil-Sakauye. She currently serves on California's Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. If approved she would succeed Chief Justice Ronald George, who's announced he'll retire early next year.  Arthur Scotland is the Presiding Justice of the  Third District Court of Appeal.  He says the job is much more than handling cases as part of the seven judge panel.
"You have a responsibility of dealing with the Governor and the legislature on budget matters. You're looking at ways you can improve the quality of the judiciary, access issues, other things of that nature that are coming up on a daily basis. So not only are you dealing with your cases but you're dealing with the bigger policy issues."
If approved, Cantil-Sakauye would be the first Asian American to head the state Supreme Court.  The 50-year-old jurist is a Republican.
"I think if you look at her opinions you'll see a moderate jurist in the mainstream, judicial mainstream at work."
Kevin Johnson is Dean of the U.C. Davis School of Law, Cantil-Sakauye's alma mater. He says he wouldn't expect a big ideological shift on the court.
 "Her most recent opinion involved a criminal case, involving sentencing of a convicted murderer. It reflected to me somebody who looks very closely at the law, at the statute, at California Supreme Court precedent. It didn't strike me the work of an ideologue in any sense."
Cantil-Sakauye's parents were farmworkers. Her supporters say they placed great emphasis on higher education.
The Governor's nomination must be submitted to a State Bar Commission and then confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. After that the decision would go to the voters-- Cantil-Sakauye would appear on the November 2nd ballot.
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