Nominee to be new chief justice of CA Supreme Court officiated at gay wedding

by on August 26, 2010  •  In Judiciary

From the L A Times:

Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye moved one step closer Wednesday to becoming the first minority California chief justice, winning unanimous confirmation by a state commission. The three-member Commission on Judicial Appointments heard nearly two hours of testimony before approving Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's nominee to head the state's $3.5-billion court system and the California Supreme Court…

If approved by voters on the November ballot, Cantil-Sakauye would be the court's first Filipina and only the second female chief justice [in California history]. Her selection also would give the state high court its first female majority.

Cantil-Sakauye, 50, is a former prosecutor who worked on legal affairs and legislative matters for former Gov. George Deukmejian and moved up the ranks from Municipal Court judge to the state Court of Appeal in Sacramento. She is a moderate Republican who presided over the marriage of a same-sex couple during the six months in 2008 when state law permitted gay marriage.

During Wednesday's hearing, a prosecutor told the commission about trying a murder case before Cantil-Sakauye in Sacramento County Superior Court in 2002. After sentencing the defendant to life in prison, Cantil-Sakauye walked down from the bench, held the hand of the crime victim's mother and told her how sorry she was for her son's death, according to Anne Marie Schubert, the prosecutor in the case and now Sacramento's supervising deputy district attorney.

Michael Arkelian, who worked as a public defender for 28 years, testified that he did not always agree with Cantil-Sakauye's decisions but described them as "extremely well reasoned" and made with an eye to justice….


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