Earlier this month, Assembly Majority Leader Charles Calderon (D-Whittier) found himself in hot water with women legislators and lawyers’ groups for comments he made about California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. From the Sacramento Bee, May 6:

Two prominent women lawyers’ groups are the latest to lambaste Assemblyman Charles Calderon for what they said were inappropriate comments about California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye at a committee hearing on Tuesday.

The Whittier Democrat, at the Assembly Judiciary Committee to push his controversial bill to decentralize control of California courts, said the issue wasn’t about Cantil-Sakauye.

But he also said: “It isn’t ‘Is she nice?’ ‘Cause she is. ‘Is she smart?’ ‘Cause she is. ‘Is she attractive?’ ‘Cause she is. It isn’t about that.”

Yesterday, in a news interview with NBC Los Angeles, the Chief Justice spoke about that comment, sounding pretty peeved.

“I was troubled by that… But when it comes from majority leader in the context of a very serous hearing where courts are lining up, where all the attorneys who are there are on the side of judicial council opposing that bill and a critical question is asked, ‘why are you taking this power away from the new chief justice four months into her administration,’ that’s when that answer is unresponsive and is offensive, and is not at all responsive to the question. So that’s the problem.”

Her answer starts at around :50 of the video.



Jon Brooks

Jon Brooks is the host and editor for KQED's daily health and technology blog, Future of You. He is the former editor of KQED News Fix.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor