At a time when many candidates are running for government by running against it and political parties have devolved into gridlock and divisiveness, it is rare to see a government official fighting for the people instead of political points.
Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye of the California Supreme Court is no stranger to being an anomaly. As the first Asian-Filipina American woman to serve as a state’s Chief Justice and only the second woman to do so in California, the Chief Justice has already broken through many ceilings to assume the role. However, over the course of her tenure, she has lived up to the very best qualities of public service.
In recognition of her achievements, numerous members and friends of the College gathered in Ostrove this past Monday to watch Cantil-Sakauye receive the 2016 Morton A. Brody Distinguished Judicial Service Award. The honor has been given biennially since 2001 to “an outstanding United States federal or state judge who embodies the qualities of integrity, compassion, humanity, and judicial craftsmanship;” qualities which underscored Judge Brody’s life.
During the Chief Justice’s introduction, President of the college David A. Greene spoke of Cantil-Sakauye’s extraordinary career, as she worked her way up from a deputy district attorney in Sacramento County to the state’s highest court. Regarded as a “wise and fair jurist,” the Chief was rated “exceptionally qualified” by the California State Bar when she was nominated for her current position by then-Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010. Greene noted that in contrast to the general public’s low-esteem for government, the people’s confidence in the judicial branch remains high thanks to the work of jurists like Brody and Cantil-Sakauye.
In her acceptance speech, the Chief Justice focused on the importance of turning challenges into opportunities. She joked, “I am an unlikely Chief Justice.” Her relationship with the legal system began early on when she “was touched by a deep injustice.” Her family home was seized under eminent domain, causing her family to become scattered.
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Story from The Colby Echo.