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Score another one for California's barrier-breaking women

June 06, 2012|By Patt Morrison
  • From left to right: California chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California attorney general Kamala Harris, and Los Angeles District Attorney candidate Jackie Lacey.
From left to right: California chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, California… (Los Angeles Times )

By this time in November, three women of color could be filling what are arguably the top three positions of justice and law enforcement in California -- the same state that was the first to send two women to the U.S. Senate.

In Tuesday’s primary, Los Angeles County's chief deputy district attorney, Jackie Lacey, put some voter daylight between herself and her second-highest challenger, fellow prosecutor Alan Jackson, in the race to succeed Steve Cooley as district attorney. If Lacey were to win in November, she would be the first woman and the first African American in the job.

The other two in this trio also scored "firsts": Kamala Harris, the former San Francisco district attorney and a rising Democratic star, was elected attorney general in 2010, defeating Cooley. Her mother is a Tamil, from India, and her father is Jamaican American.

And the recently named chief justice of California’s Supreme Court, appointed by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, is Tani Cantil-Sakauye, a Filipina/Asian Portuguese American.

Two and now possibly three women of color in the state’s top legal jobs. Big deal? Discuss.

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