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Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye '84 Sworn-in as Chief Justice of California

News Posted on July 21, 2010



Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84 was sworn-in by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on December 3 to become Chief Justice of California. 

In the State Capitol Rotunda, the Governor, Justice Cantil-Sakauye, and retiring Chief Justice Ronald George made remarks before a packed audience of family members and guests, including UC Davis School of Law Dean Kevin R. Johnson and Director of Marketing and Public Relations Pamela Wu.  Justice Cantil-Sakauye will assume her new role officially on January 3, 2011.

California voters confirmed Cantil-Sakauye '84 to a 12-year term as the state's chief justice on Election Day, November 2.  Justice Cantil-Sakauye was nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to be Chief Justice of California, making the UC Davis School of Law graduate the first Asian American to lead the state's judiciary.  Cantil-Sakauye has agreed to be the commencement speaker for the UC Davis School of Law commencement ceremony scheduled for May 13, 2011.

"We are proud that a UC Davis alumna has been confirmed as Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, one of the most prestigious judicial posts in the nation," said Dean Kevin R. Johnson.  "Justice Cantil-Sakauye is eminently qualified for the post, with legal experience as a district attorney, municipal court judge, superior court judge, and California Court of Appeals justice.  We are especially proud that, when she becomes Chief Justice, UC Davis School of Law alumni will hold leadership roles in the California Supreme Court and the California State Legislature, where Darrell Steinberg '84 is Senate President pro Tem and Charles Calderon '75 is the Assembly Majority Leader."

Judge Cantil-Sakauye has retained close ties with the Law School and has been an active supporter of the King Hall Outreach Program, serving as keynote speaker for the KHOP awards banquent in 2007 and hearing the KHOP Moot Court Oral Arguments at the end of the summer program in 2007 and 2008.  Her appointment brought extensive press coverage, with King Hall faculty including Dean Kevin R. Johnson, Professor Rex Perschbacher, and Professor Clay Tanaka commenting for media.

Since 2005, Judge Cantil-Sakauye has served as an associate justice for the Third District Court of Appeal in Sacramento.  Prior to that, she was a superior court judge for the Sacramento County Superior Court (1997 to 2004) and a judge for the Sacramento County Municipal Court (1990 to 1997). She worked for the Office of Governor Deukmejian as a deputy legislative secretary from 1989 to 1990 and as a deputy legal affairs secretary from 1988 to 1989. She joined the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office shortly after graduation from King Hall in 1984 and worked as a deputy district attorney until 1988.  Cantil-Sakauye also completed her undergraduate degree at UC Davis, graduating in 1980. 

Judge Cantil-Sakauye is a member of the California Judicial Council, and is vice chair of the Rules and Projects Committee and Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group. She is a member of the Commission on Impartial Courts, chair of the Judicial Branch Financial Accountability and Efficiency Advisory Committee and president of the Anthony M. Kennedy Inn of Court. 

Governor Schwarzenegger's News Release

Sacramento Bee profile with Professor Perschbacher comments

California Bar Journal article

Dean Johnson Comments for Los Angeles Times

Dean Johnson Comments for Southern California Public Radio

Professor Tanaka Comments for KCRA-3

Dean Johnson Comments for KCBS

Dean Johnson Comments for Capital Public Radio