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News Posted on March 12, 2012

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye '84 Speaks to Class of 2014

Professor Clay Tanaka, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye 84, Dean Kevin R. JohnsonChief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye '84 returned to UC Davis on March 9 to speak to first-year King Hall students in the UC Davis Conference Center.  A frequent visitor to King Hall, the Chief Justice talked to the Class of 2014 about her career, her belief in the power of law to influence public policy and effect social change, and her pride in being a King Hall alumna, praising her professors and classmates at King Hall for preparing her for the challenges she now faces.

"UC Davis did such an excellent job of teaching me how to think about law and policy, and the role of the law in our society," she said.

Nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in July 2010 and confirmed by voters the following November, Justice Cantil-Sakauye is the first Asian American and the second woman to lead California's judiciary.  She has also served on the California Court of Appeal, Sacramento Superior Court, and Sacramento Municipal Court, and as a Sacramento deputy district attorney.  She has retained close ties with UC Davis School of Law and has been an active supporter of the King Hall Outreach Program, serving as keynote speaker for the KHOP awards banquet in 2007 and hearing the KHOP Moot Court Oral Arguments in 2007 and 2008. She was commencement speaker for the Class of 2011.

A Sacramento native and a child of Filipino immigrants, Justice Cantil-Sakauye told students that the unexpected experience of being chosen to lead one of the nation's most influential courts has taught her the importance of being prepared for opportunity.

"It all happened so fast and so completely unexpectedly that, based on that experience, I now believe than anything is possible, and you should think the same," she said.  "It's all about being prepared for opportunity, and it starts with your experience at this law school."

"UC Davis is a small law school, but we're a mighty school, and I meet people up and down the state who graduated from here," she said.  "UC Davis teaches you to think about the law and gives you the skills you'll need, whether you're a jurist or an attorney.  They really prepare you to deal with the hard questions you will encounter."