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