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Calif.: Chief Justice Nomination Sealed

Calif.: Chief Justice Nomination Sealed


California third district court of appeals justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye is inching toward replacing retiring state supreme court chief justice Ronald George, which would make her the second woman and first Filipina to head the state's top court.

Cantil-Sakauye's nomination by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger was approved by the three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments after a two-hour hearing in San Francisco on Wednesday. She will have to be approved by voters on the November 2 ballot. If she is not approved, the next governor (either businesswoman Meg Whitman or state attorney general Jerry Brown) will choose the next chief justice, who heads the state's supreme court and its court system overall.

Cantil-Sakauye is a moderate Republican, and she presided over a handful of weddings for same-sex couples while marriage equality was legal in California in 2008. According to the Los Angeles Times, commissioner Joan Dempsey Klein asked Cantil-Sakauye if she recognized "the huge responsibility to yourself and your gender" as women have had to struggle for a place in the legal sector.

Cantil-Sakauye replied that she was mindful of the pioneering work of her female colleagues and predecessors but "none of us got here alone."

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