Commission approves Calif. chief justice nominee


If approved by the voters in November, Cantil-Sakauye will be replacing retiring Chief Justice Ron George.

Her elevation to the High Court would break several barriers. She would be the first Filipino American, the first non-white to head the court and she would give the seven-member court its first female majority.

The 50-year-old Republican called it "the opportunity and adventure of a lifetime." During a two-hour hearing at the State Supreme Courtroom in San Francisco, 11 witnesses spoke in her support.

"All who know Tani can attest to the brilliance of her mind, her objectivity, her thorough and thoughtful approach to decision making," Justice Arthur Scotland said.

There were also those from the Filipino-American community who talked about her personal background.

Cantil-Sakauye is the daughter of migrant farm workers. Eduardo Angeles of the Filipino American Service Group told the panel her nomination is proof "one can still realize the American dream."

Two people spoke in opposition including a self-described clown and community activist, and an attorney/mediator, Geoffrey Graybill, who claimed Cantil-Sakauye has exhibited gender-bias against male litigants particularly in domestic violence cases.

"She consistently falls short of this commitment when an issue offends her gender bias perspective on heterosexual domestic violence," attorney Geoffrey Graybill said.

The State Commission on Judicial Nominees, which investigates and evaluates judicial nominees found no evidence of bias. The chair told the committee it has given the Justice, its highest evaluation, calling her thorough, thoughtful and possessing a brilliant mind.

"I have to say either as a woman, or as a Filipino or as a mother, or as a 50-year-old woman in this society, that always influences how I see the facts, that always has an influence on how I interpret the facts and understand the facts to be. But in terms of the rule of law, I apply the rule of law based on precedence," Cantil-sakauye said.

Cantil-Sakauye will be unopposed on the November ballot.

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