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Attending the Chief Justice's State of the Judiciary Address

Posted By Kevin R. Johnson, Mar 19, 2012

I attended the Inaugural State of the Judiciary by the Chief Justice of California, Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84.  The speech was given at the California State Capitol before a joint session of the California Senate and Assembly, in the same room where Massachusetts Governor Michael Dukakis was recognized a few weeks ago.  All but one Justice from the California Supreme Court were in attendance.

A group of honored guests, including state and local bar leaders, judges and justices, and other political and legal leaders were given a general briefing before the speech about what the Chief would focus on in her speech. 

In her speech, the Chief Justice touched upon the challenges, budgetary and otherwise, facing the California courts.  She offered what I would characterize as a thoughtful and fair analysis of the state of the judiciary, its challenges and triumphs, and her vision for the future.  The Chief Justice, among other things, advocated a fully funded judiciary with sufficient judges to handle the heavy caseload.   In terms of judicial administration, the Chief endorsed transparency and inclusiveness in decision making.

The Chief also mentioned how she was inspired by another Filipina lawyer, King Hall alum Gloria Ochoa '76.  UC Davis Magazine recounts the story here, of how a young Cantil-Sakauye, who had never before seen a Filipina lawyer, saw Ochoa give a speech and made it her goal to follow in Ochoa's footsteps.  The two are now friends.

King Hall alums Charles Calderon '75 and Luis Alejo '01 were among the legislators in attendance.  Senate President pro Tem Darrell Steinberg '84 presided.  He introduced the Chief Justice and mentioned that they were classmates at UC Davis School of Law. 

I saw some other King Hall alums in attendance at the speech, including Ken Babcock ‘81, director of the Public Law Center, Judge Stacy Boulware Eurie ‘95, and immediate past President of the National Bar Association Demetrius Shelton ‘93.