December 30, 2010

Article discusses the quiet advent of a female majority on the California Supreme Court

Yesterday’s Daily Journal [subscription required] had an interesting article by Laura Ernde about the fact that, when Tani Cantil-Sakauye assumes her duties as Chief Justice in January, the California Supreme Court will have a permanent four-member female majority for the first time in its history. Ernde’s article rightly points out that the most remarkable aspect of this development is how little attention it’s generating. This is no doubt partly due to the fact that female appellate jurists are now commonplace, as underscored by the President’s recent back-to-back appointments of two women to the U.S. Supreme Court. Also, as Horvitz & Levy partner Lisa Perrochet points out in Ernde’s article, the women on the California Supreme Court don’t form a regular voting bloc, so the advent of a female majority likely won’t cause a sea change in the Court’s jurisprudence. Still, as appellate specialist M.C. Sungaila of Snell & Wilmer notes in the article, the existence of a female majority on the Court might tip the balance in certain key cases, such as those involving alleged gender discrimination, where a woman’s point of view of the facts might differ from those of her male colleagues.

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