JURIST ONE STEP CLOSER TO BECOMING FIRST FILIPINO-AMERICAN STATE SUPREME COURT JUSTICE
My practice and this blog is focused on entertainment, media and intellectual property litigation. However, the past week — an historic one for the Filipino and Asian American legal community — was consumed by the confirmation process for California Court of Appeal Associate Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye and her nomination to become the first Filipino-American justice of the California Supreme Court, and first Asian-American Chief Justice of California. On Wednesday, August 25, 2010, Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s confirmation hearing before the Commission on Judicial Appointments took place at the California Supreme Court in San Francisco. I was privileged to testify in support of Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s nomination on behalf of the Philippine American Bar Association.
More on my testimony and Justice Cantil-Sakauye’s hearing after the jump.
LIVING THE AMERICAN DREAM
Justice Cantil-Sakauye is the embodiment of the American Dream. She was born in California’s capital city of Sacramento where she was raised by her immigrant parents. Her parents were farm workers who worked hard so that their children could be well educated. Justice Cantil-Sakauye took advantage of her opportunities, obtaining her bachelor’s degree with honors in 1980 from the University of California, Davis and her law degree from the Martin Luther King, Jr. School of Law at the University of California, Davis in 1984. Justice Cantil-Sakauye worked as a deputy district attorney in Sacramento before joining Governor George Deukmejian’s staff in 1988. Governor Deukmejian appointed Justice Cantil-Sakauye to the bench as a municipal court judge in 1990. Governor Pete Wilson appointed her to the Sacramento County Superior Court in 1997, and Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger elevated her to the California Court of Appeal in 2005. When current Chief Justice Ronald M. George announced his retirement, Governor Schwarzenegger nominated her to replace him as the Chief Justice of California.
The nomination of Justice Cantil-Sakauye has been lauded by virtually all in the California legal community. Justice Cantil-Sakauye received the Judicial Nominees Evaluation Committee’s highest rating of “exceptionally well qualified.” Chief Justice George called her uniquely qualified to take over California’s judicial branch.
My testimony in support of Justice Cantil-Sakauye focused on the tremendous inspiration she would be as the top judicial officer in California. With 10 judges of Filipino descent in California, where some 1.9 million people identify themselves as Filipino-Americans, should Justice Cantil-Sakauye become the first Filipino-American to be a justice of a state supreme court, and the first Asian-American woman to be Chief Justice, she would become the role model who embodies the American dream — that anyone with dedication and hard work can aspire to achieve at the highest levels. I was proud to play a small part in this process.
You can see the full confirmation hearing at the California Channel. I’ve also posted links to other coverage at The Avanzado Law Firm Facebook Page. Finally, you can hear the NPR California Report radio broadcast coverage below.