Correction: I goofed. The video of the hearing shows Assemblyman Charles Calderon refered to the chief justice as "attractive," not "pretty" as I originally reported. The item below has been fixed to reflect that.
The chairwoman of the Senate Judiciary Committee is demanding an apology from Majority Floor Leader Charles Calderon, D-Montebello, after the assemblyman called the chief justice “attractive” during Tuesday’s committee debate on Assembly Bill 1208.
Calderon had been asked by Judiciary Committee members whether it was fair to demand significant branch management changes when Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has only been in office for four months. Calderon responded that the bill was not a personal attack on Cantil-Sakauye and that any chief justice would have difficulties managing the branch’s large bureaucracy.
“It doesn’t mean that she isn’t nice, because she is,” Calderon said. “It doesn’t mean that she isn’t smart, because she is. It doesn’t mean that she isn’t attractive, because she is.”
The remark drew murmurs of protest and some hissing from the committee audience, which included many members of the Consumer Attorneys of California.
“Your remarks regarding the chief justice were degrading and inappropriate,” Evans, who is chairwoman of the legislative women's caucus, wrote in a letter to Calderon. “As the leader of California’s judiciary, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye should be taken seriously and not spoken about in such a dismissive and frivolous manner.”
Reached Tuesday afternoon, Calderon said his comments were taken out of context and the issue is "a sideshow."
"I'm surprised at the response because that's certainly not the way I view women in power," he said. "That's not the way I interact with my colleagues."