Politics & Government

Schwarzenegger to pick first Filipina American chief justice for California Supreme Court

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will nominate Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a Republican appellate court justice with a reputation as a moderate, to be chief justice of the California Supreme Court, The Bee learned Tuesday.

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, of Sacramento is a former prosecutor and Sacramento Superior Court judge. She would replace Chief Justice Ronald George, who has announced he will retire Jan. 2.

Cantil-Sakauye has been on the 3rd District Court of Appeal since 2005. If approved by a three-member commission and by voters in November, she would start a 12-year term in January.

She would be the state's first Filipina American chief justice.

"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," Schwarzenegger said in a statement contained in a draft news release obtained by The Bee.

Cantil-Sakauye was quoted in that release as saying, "Being nominated to serve on the highest court in California is a dream come true."

While on the 3rd District Court of Appeal, Cantil-Sakauye wrote the court's opinion this year striking down a California regulation that allowed trained school staffers to give insulin shots to students. Nurses had challenged the regulation, adopted in 2007.

Cantil-Sakauye dissented last year when the court majority ruled that the city of Sacramento was not liable in a case in which a woman claimed two firefighters sexually assaulted her. The majority opinion said the alleged assault was not among the firefighters' official duties.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.