We were really hoping that President Obama would nominate an Asian American (former dean of Yale Law School Harold Koh? Boalt law professor Goodwin Liu?) when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Stevens stepped down. It didn’t happen, obviously, and it looks like Elena Kagan is going to be confirmed. But all is not lost! We may just have an Asian American Supreme Court justice yet!
California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated 3rd District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye as the next chief justice of the California Supreme Court. Not only would the 50-year-old Filipina American be the first Asian American to lead the state’s high court, if confirmed, she would give the court a female majority for the first time in history.
“She is a living example of the American dream and when she is confirmed by the voters in November, Judge Cantil-Sakauye will become California’s first Filipina chief justice, adding to our high court’s already rich diversity,” Schwarzenegger said in a statement.
Cantil-Sakauye earned a bachelor’s degree in rhetoric at UC Davis in 1980 and a law degree from the UC Davis School of Law in 1984. It is reported that her Filipina mother was a farmworker and her Hawaii-born Filipino-Portuguese father worked in sugar cane and pineapple plantations before moving to Sacramento.