SACRAMENTO (KCBS / CBS 5) – With her friends, family and colleagues looking on, Tani Cantil-Sakauye took the oath of office Friday to become the new chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

The Filipino-American is the state’s first non-white chief justice and only the second woman to hold the office.

The Sacramento native acknowledged the challenges ahead and recounted how childhood visits to Capitol Hill Park made the swearing in ceremony in the rotunda of the Capitol building so personally moving.

“We lived only a few blocks from here. Sometimes, after church, my mother would take my sister Kim, my brother Mark, my other brother Clem and I here,” she said.

It never occurred to them to actually enter the building.

“We were happy to be near it in the park. And now, here we are inside, sitting in the front row,” Cantil-Sakauye said jubilantly.

Most recently an appeals court judge, Cantil-Sakauye, 51, has worked as a prosecutor and served in the administration of Gov. George Deukmejian.

Her nomination was a proud moment for the state’s Asian American community, said Richard Konda, executive director of the Asian Law Alliance. He described the 51-year-old’s achievement “as a role model in the community for what can be accomplished.”

She begins her new duties January 3.

(© 2010 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)


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