SACRAMENTO (CN) – Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated appellate Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye to replace retiring Ronald George as chief justice of the California Supreme Court. “She is a living example of the American Dream,” the governor said of Cantil-Sakauye, a Filipina-American and the first minority to be nominated for the position.
The 50-year-old Sacramento native has served as an associate justice for the Third District Court of Appeal since 2005, and was a Sacramento Superior Court judge from 1997 to 2004. She is also a member of California’s Judicial Council.
Cantil-Sakauye earned her B.A. and law degrees from the University of California, Davis.
“It is a privilege and a tremendous honor to have the opportunity to serve as chief justice of the California Supreme Court,” Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement. “As a jurist, woman and a Filipina, I am extremely grateful for the trust Governor Schwarzenegger has placed in me. I hope to show young people what they can achieve if they follow their dreams and reach for their full potential.”
A Republican, Cantil-Sakauye overturned in October 2009 a 16-year-old boy’s conviction for sending “threatening or obscene” text messages to an ex-girlfriend. He had threatened to bring a gun to school to kill half the students and himself in one of the messages.
“While the violence described … is arguably upsetting it is not obscene — that is, offensive to prevailing notions of modesty or decency — particularly when read in the context in which the text was sent,” Cantil-Sakauye wrote for the appellate court.