Metropolitan News-Enterprise


Tuesday, August 24, 2010


Page 1


Cantil-Sakauye Gets JNE Commission’s Top Rating




The State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation has rated Third District Court of Appeal Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye “exceptionally well-qualified” to be the next chief justice of California in a report made public yesterday.

The nominee received the highest rating that the commission can bestow because she has a “brilliant mind” and “exceptional objectivity,” JNE Chair—and Woodland Hills attorney—Alice Salvo wrote. Salvo described the nominee as “an extraordinarily hard worker” and “a very astute scholar” who “brings a sense of joyful enthusiasm” to the bench.

Cantil-Sakauye faces a confirmation hearing at 11 a.m. tomorrow before the Commission on Judicial Appointments in San Francisco. The hearing will be televised live, on cable and over the Internet, by the California Channel.

The commission consists of Chief Justice Ronald M. George, Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Presiding Court of Appeal Justice Joan Dempsey Klein of this district’s Div. Three.

If confirmed by the commission, she would face an up-or-down vote on the statewide general election ballot Nov. 2. If approved by voters, she would succeed George when he steps down in January.

Salvo, who is set to testify on behalf of the JNE commission tomorrow, said Cantil-Sakauye “has a well developed array of executive and legislative skills to compliment her judicial skills,” broad experience in civil and criminal law, and “the remarkable ability to identify and extract relevant information from mounds of records and briefs.”

‘Deeply Committed’

The JNE chair also praised the nominee’s collegiality and temperament, and described her as being “deeply committed to access to justice for all individuals and groups and to the elimination of bias in any form in our judicial and legal system.”

In addition to the commission’s evaluation, officials made public the list of speakers who will support or oppose confirmation at the hearing.

Listed as speaking in support of the nominee are two of Cantil-Sakauye’s colleagues on the Court of Appeal, Presiding Justice Arthur Scotland and Justice Vance Ray; retired Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Terry Friedman; Sacramento Superior Court Presiding Judge Steve White; Sacramento attorney Michael Arkelian; Century City attorney Melvin Avanzado, representing the Philippine American Bar Association; Eduardo Angeles, representing the Filipino American Service Group, Inc.; Marily Mondejar, president of the Filipina Women’s Network; Genevieve D. Dong, president of the Filipino Bar Association of Northern California; and Mona Pasquil, who served as chief of staff to John Garamendi when he was lieutenant governor and acted as lieutenant governor after Garamendi was elected to Congress last year.

Letters supporting the nominee were sent to the commission by several others, notably Sen. President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, and California Chamber of Commerce President Allan Zaremberg.

Two speakers are slated to oppose the nominee, Geoffrey L. Graybill of Sacramento and Edwin Thomas Snell of Apple Valley.

Bias Claimed

Graybill is a deputy state attorney generalm but identified himself as an “attorney/mediator” in his letter to the Commission on Judicial Appointments a 19-page diatribe alleging that Cantil-Sakauye, in both her judicial capacity and as a member of the Judicial Council, of bias in favor of women, particularly in connection with domestic violence and child custody disputes.

Cantil-Sakauye, who served on the board of “My Sister’s House,” which aids Asian and Pacific Islander women and their children impacted by domestic violence, has a “gender-obsessed perspective on legal issues and court practices” that poses “an obvious hazard to children,” Graybill wrote.

Snell, who has participated in a number of recall campaigns against state and local officials, said that in 21 cases he had reviewed, Cantil-Sakauye had never voted to overturn a Three-Strikes Law sentence.

“I feel Ms. Cantil-Sakauye will further certain draconian jurisprudence and affect those in my community, especially those with undiagnosed and untreated mental disabilities,” Snell wrote.


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