Chief Justice Ronald George announced a week ago that he would not be seeking re-election this November (California Supreme Court justices stand for a yes or no re-election vote every twelve years). In no time flat, Governor Schwarznegger announced a successor: Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye from the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento. The Third District has generally been a business-friendly Court. It gets a lot of Proposition 65 litigation and other litigation where the State of California is a party. CBL is going to be taking a look at some of her opinions in business, Proposition 65 and tort matters, and hopes to have a post up on that subject soon. Meanwhile, here are some excerpts from her bio on the Court's web site:
Associate Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye served 14 years as a judge on the Sacramento court. In 1990, Governor George Deukmejian appointed her to the Municipal Court, in 1997 Governor Pete Wilson elevated her to the Superior Court, and in 2005 Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated her to the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District where she was unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
On the Sacramento court Justice Cantil Sakauye presided over both criminal and civil assignments. In 1997, she started and presided over the first court in Sacramento dedicated solely to domestic violence issues. Her responsibilities on the Sacramento court included: Chair of the court's criminal law committee, a member of the presiding judge's task force on domestic violence, and a member of the Home Court committee.
Currently, Justice Cantil Sakauye is a member of the Judicial Council. On the Council, she is vice chair of the Rules and Projects Committee, chair of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch, co-chair of the Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group, and a member of the California Commission on Impartial Courts. She has previously served as a member of the Judicial Council's Task Force on Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure and chaired the Best Practices Domestic Violence subcommittee. She serves as President of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court, an organization dedicated to promoting civility, ethics, and professionalism in the practice of law. Since 2007, she has served as a Special Master, selected by the Supreme Court to hear disciplinary proceedings before the Commission on Judicial Performance.
Justice Cantil Sakauye needs to be confirmed by a panel consisting of the current Chief Justice, Attorney General Jerry Brown and senior Court of Appeals Justice Joan Dempsey-Klein. She will then begin serving, but will stand for voter approval in the November election. If she is approved (and it's pretty much a sure thing), the California Supreme Court will have a female majority for the first time.