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News Posted on April 27, 2018

Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye to Deliver 2018 Commencement Address

During her seven years in office, Chief Justice of California Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, a member of the UC Davis School of Law class of 1984, has emerged as one of the country’s leading advocates for equal access to justice, transparency, and the independence of the judiciary.

The Chief Justice will return to UC Davis to be the keynote speaker for the 2018 School of Law commencement on Saturday, May 19 at the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts. 

When Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was sworn into office in January 2011 as the 28th Chief Justice of California, she was the first Filipina American and the second woman to serve as the state’s chief justice.

In recent years, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has raised awareness about the unfair financial impact of fines, fees, and the bail system on the poor. And within the last year, the Chief Justice wrote an open letter to the Trump administration expressing her opposition of immigration enforcement agents apprehending individuals appearing for court dates. She said arrests at courthouses undermine trust in the community.

The Chief Justice is a leader in revitalizing civic learning in the state through her Power of Democracy initiative. She, along with other state leaders, fulfilled one of the initiative’s goals in July 2016 when the state Board of Education unanimously approved an instructional framework that encourages civic learning.

The Chief Justice has also convened leaders to address issues of implicit bias, human trafficking, and truancy--which are part of a national movement to keep kids in school and out of the criminal justice system.

Kevin R. Johnson - UC Davis Law Dean and Mabie-Apallas Professor of Public Interest Law and Chicana/o Studies - said Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye's participation in commencement has special significance.

“UC Davis School of Law is proud of the Chief Justice of California and the values she stands for, which are consistent with a law school housed in Martin Luther King, Jr. Hall.” Dean Johnson said. “Her support and commitment is inspirational to us all.”

Since receiving both her undergraduate degree and J.D. from UC Davis, the Chief Justice has been a long-time supporter of the law school and campus. Her sister is a graduate of UC Davis, her daughter is currently an undergraduate student at UC Davis, and her niece is graduating this year with the School of Law's Class of 2018. In 2011, she delivered the commencement address for the law school soon after being sworn in as Chief Justice of California.

Approximately 250 J.D. and Master of Laws (LL.M.) students will receive their degrees at this year's ceremony. This is a ticketed event for graduates and their guests and is not open to the public.

Watch a live-stream of the ceremony starting at 4 p.m. on May 19.