Mina Kim at San Francisco’s KQED conducted an hour-long interview with Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. The Chief talked about heading the largest judicial system in the country, how court finances have greatly improved since the beginning of her tenure, how those finances might deteriorate in the not-too-distant future, her new job heading the Public Policy Institute of California, court functions during the pandemic, private mediation, using remote technology in the courts, the resolution of conflicts in the law as the primary reason for the Supreme Court deciding to hear a case, and how she is “thrilled” with the nomination of Justice Patricia Guerrero as her successor.
Cantil-Sakauye also spoke at length about partisanship at the U.S. Supreme Court and about the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearing that prompted her to end her Republican party affiliation (see here).
The Chief Justice said she “agree[s] with the narrative that is forming that [the partisan divide at the U.S. Supreme Court] is troubling to watch and it calls into question the impartiality of the judicial system, a system that survives on public trust and public confidence.” The situation “concerns jurists not only at the federal level but at the state level as well,” she added.
Regarding the Kavanaugh hearing, Cantil-Sakauye singled out the “employment of a female interlocutor because the [Republican] senators for some reason could not directly ask a question” of Dr. Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault. She asked, “how can we condone a process like this?” and said it was “alienating” for her.
Additionally, the Chief Justice mentioned two cases in particular during her Supreme Court career that stand out for her: Perry v. Brown (2011) 52 Cal.4th 1116 (proponents have standing to defend an initiative outlawing same-sex marriage) (see here) and In re Garcia (2014) 58 Cal.4th 440 (admitting an undocumented immigrant to practice law in California) (see here).