California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye will visit Balboa High School in San Francisco today as part of a month-long student outreach program by Cantil-Sakauye and the court.
During an hour-long meeting with 11th and 12th graders from the high school’s Law Academy, the chief justice will answer questions from a student panel.
The event follows a special session held by the California Supreme Court at the University of San Francisco School of Law on Feb. 5.
Several hundred students from Balboa High School Law Academy, Thurgood Marshall High School in San Francisco and the USF School of Law attended the arguments in three cases pending before the court.
“Being in the courtroom during the oral arguments showed them firsthand the important work of the Supreme Court and exposed them to what a career in the field of law could mean,” said Balboa Law Academy Director Michael Rosenberg.
The Balboa Law Academy prepares students for college or a career with a focus on justice through academic courses and summer internships. It is one of seven career-themed academies in San Francisco Unified School District high schools.
Today’s meeting at the high school will be “a great opportunity for the students to question and learn from the chief justice’s academic and professional background,” Rosenberg said.
Cantil-Sakauye, 53, was appointed to the high court by former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2010 and took office on Jan. 3, 2011, after previously having served on a state appeals court and Sacramento County Superior Court. She is the first Filipino-American and second woman to be chief justice.
The outreach program is intended to increase public understanding of the court system.
“I am advocating for improved civics education so that our students and our citizens understand that the strength of our democratic institutions relies on the public’s understanding of those institutions,” Cantil-Sakauye said.
In other events this month, students from C.K. McClatchy High School in Sacramento attended a second day of the USF session on Feb. 6 and will have a return visit from the chief justice on Feb. 21.
Cantil-Sakauye will also visit Sutter Middle School in Sacramento and the University of La Verne Law School in Ontario.
The program will culminate with a statewide civic learning summit in Sacramento on Feb. 28, at which retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor will be the keynote speaker. Cantil-Sakauye, California Secretary of State Debra Bowen and Superintendent of Public Education Tom Torlakson will also participate.
Julia Cheever, Bay City News