Tani Cantil-Sakauye

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Tani Cantil-Sakauye
28th Chief Justice of California
In office
January 3, 2011 – January 1, 2023
Appointed byArnold Schwarzenegger
Preceded byRonald M. George
Succeeded byPatricia Guerrero
Personal details
Tani Gorre Cantil

(1959-10-19) October 19, 1959 (age 64)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Political partyRepublican (before 2018)
Independent (2018–present)[1]
SpouseMark Sakauye
EducationSacramento City College (AA)
University of California, Davis (BA, JD)

Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye (née Cantil; born October 19, 1959) is an American lawyer and jurist who was the 28th Chief Justice of California and is the president/CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California. She was nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to serve as chief justice on July 22, 2010, and retained in office by California voters on November 2, 2010, she was sworn in on January 3, 2011 as California's first Filipino and first woman of color to serve as California's Chief Justice.[2] Prior to her appointment as chief justice, Cantil-Sakauye had served in judicial offices on California's appellate and trial courts. On July 27, 2022, she announced she would retire and not run for another 12 year term on the court in November and step down on January 1, 2023, leaving Governor Newsom to appoint her replacement.[3] On September 28, 2022, the Public Policy Institute of California announced that Cantil-Sakauye would become its president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2023.[4] On September 21, 2023, the Judicial Council of California voted unanimously to name the new Sacramento County courthouse after former Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.

Early life and education[edit]

Born in Sacramento, California, as Tani Gorre Cantil, she was raised in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento.[5] In 1977, she earned her high school diploma from C. K. McClatchy High School, and in 1978 her Associate of Arts from Sacramento City College,[6] where she played competitive tennis[7] and won awards in debate.[8][9][10] In 1980, she graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of California, Davis.[11] In 1984, she received her Juris Doctor degree from UC Davis School of Law.[12][13] Cantil-Sakauye is of mixed descent. Her Hawaii-born father, Clarence, was of Filipino and Portuguese ancestry, while her mother, Mary Gorre, was Filipino.[14][15]

Legal career[edit]

Upon graduation from law school in 1984, Cantil was unable to find a job in law, so she became a blackjack dealer in Reno, Nevada.[16] At the time, the Sacramento County Public Defender's Office had refused to hire her because of her young age.[16] Later that same year, Deputy District Attorney Russell Hom (a future Sacramento County Superior Court Judge) recruited Cantil to come to the Sacramento County District Attorney's Office.[16]

In 1988, Cantil left the District Attorney's office to become a Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian.[17] The next year, Deukmejian appointed Cantil as a Deputy Legislative Secretary.[17]

Judicial career[edit]

Cantil-Sakauye speaking at the swearing-in of Justice Goodwin Liu.

In 1990, Deukmejian appointed her as a Judge of the Sacramento Municipal Court.[2] In 1997, Governor Pete Wilson appointed her as a Judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court.[2] She served there until 2005, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed her as an Associate Justice of the California Third District Court of Appeal to succeed Daniel Kolkey.[2] In the November 7, 2006, election she was retained by the voters.

On July 21, 2010, Schwarzenegger nominated Cantil-Sakauye, at the time a Republican, to succeed retiring Chief Justice Ronald M. George on the California Supreme Court.[17][18][19] On August 25, 2010, the three-member California Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously approved her nomination as the next chief justice of California.[20][21] In the November 2010 general elections, voters retained her for a 12-year term as chief justice.[22][23]

During her time on the appellate court, Cantil-Sakauye has served as: a member of the Judicial Council, where she was vice chair of the Rules and Projects Committee; chair of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch; co-chair of the Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group; and a member of the California Commission on Impartial Courts. She has served as President of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inns of Court, an organization promoting civility, ethics, and professionalism in the practice of law. Beginning in 2007, she also served as a Special Master, selected by the Supreme Court to hear disciplinary proceedings before the Commission on Judicial Performance.[24]

As Chief Justice, Cantil-Sakauye has pursued a number of policy initiatives. These include bail reform and decriminalizing minor traffic offenses, improved funding for courts and the bar, and civil discourse education for students. Finally, she has argued why she feels it is important that U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement not make arrests at state courthouses.[25]

On July 27, 2022, Cantil-Sakauye announced she will retire at the end of her term on January 1, 2023.[26]

Bail reform[edit]

In 2016, Cantil-Sakauye led the effort at bail reform and to reclassify minor traffic infractions as civil instead of criminal to promote fairness of the law.[27] In March 2016, she outlined the scope of her initiative in a speech.[28] In January 2017, she reiterated her concern of the impact of bail on those who cannot afford to pay.[29][30] In June 2017, a reform bill progressed in the California State Assembly.[31] However, in July 2017 critics expressed concern that the current bail system best serves the goal of ensuring court attendance.[32] In August 2017, a settlement in Solano County, California, promised a degree of reform.[33] Also in August 2017, the State Legislature declined to address in the current session the broader reform sought by the chief justice.[34]

On August 28, 2018, Governor Brown signed into law a "no cash" bail bill, SB10.[35] The bail reform act reflected advice from the Chief Justice's bail reduction task force.[36][37] Bail bond business owners critical of the new law contend the state will struggle to replace their services.[38]

Court and bar funding[edit]

In 2017, Cantil-Sakauye advocated for additional court funding.[39] In July 2017, she explained that a history of inadequate funding has compromised services to the public, and in San Francisco has led to cuts at the courthouse.[40] However, the Legislature has so far failed to provide the sought after increase in funding for the courts.[41]

In September 2016, Cantil-Sakauye addressed the related matter of funding for the State Bar of California.[42][43] In October and November 2016, a legislative stalemate led to a compromise budget for the Bar.[44][45]

Civil discourse education[edit]

In 2012, Cantil-Sakauye launched an initiative, called "Power of Democracy,"[46] to support civil discourse education for students,[47][48] and to emphasize the importance of jury trials as a matter of civics.[49]

Immigration agents at courthouses[edit]

In March 2017, Cantil-Sakauye cautioned about the unintended consequences of arrests of undocumented immigrants by federal agents at California state courthouses.[50][51][52] She has stated her concern that victims of crime will avoid the police and testifying in trials if they fear arrest at the courthouse.[53][54] This would undermine the law enforcement goal of protecting communities, a view echoed by other judges and prosecutors.[55][56] In August 2018, she made a further statement opposing a recent set of arrests by ICE at state courthouses.[57]

UC Berkeley enrollment freeze[edit]

In 2022, Canti-Sakauye upheld a lower-court order that forced UC Berkeley to cut its enrollment numbers after a group of Berkeley residents sued the university. The Berkeley residents claimed that UC Berkeley was violating the California Environmental Quality Act by expanding its enrollment numbers.[58]

Post-judicial career[edit]

On September 28, 2022, the Public Policy Institute of California announced that Cantil-Sakauye would become its president and chief executive officer, effective January 1, 2023.[4] She also serves as a Neutral Mediator and Arbitrator with ADR Services, Inc. [59]

On September 19, 2023, it was announced that the Sacramento Superior Court's new downtown courthouse would be named after Cantil-Sakauye. [60]

Personal life[edit]

In 1994, she married Mark Sakauye,[16] a since-retired Sacramento Police Department lieutenant.[2] They have two daughters.[61]

In December 2018, Cantil-Sakauye left the Republican Party and registered as a No Party Preference voter. She cited the confirmation of Justice Brett Kavanaugh and an increasing discomfort with the direction of the GOP as reasons.[62]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Morain, Dan (December 13, 2018). "Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Kavanaugh". CALmatters. Retrieved December 13, 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e "Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye". Judicial Council of California. 27 July 2021.
  3. ^ "California Chief Justice Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye won't seek a second 12-year term". KCRA. 2022-07-28. Retrieved 2022-07-28.
  4. ^ a b "Tani Cantil-Sakauye Named New President and CEO of PPIC". Public Policy Institute of California.
  5. ^ Editorial Board (March 12, 2016). "Chief Justice Tani Canil-Sakauye holds court". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  6. ^ "Notable Alumni-Tani Cantil-Sakauye". California Community Colleges Chancellor's Office. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Women's Tennis Team Loses Match". The Express (Sacramento City College student newspaper). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 5 May 1977. p. 11. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  8. ^ Graebe, Ellen (21 April 1977). "Speech Team Rated First in Standings". The Express (Sacramento City College student newspaper). California Digital Newspaper Collection. p. 16. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Nine Get Speech Prizes in National Contest". The Express (Sacramento City College student newspaper). California Digital Newspaper Collection. 8 December 1977. p. 10. Retrieved September 20, 2017. In the Northridge competition Nov. 18 and 19, Cantil won the championship in open communication analysis
  10. ^ Sheley, Tom (20 April 1978). "Speech team ranks fourth in national championships". The Express (Sacramento City College student newspaper). California Digital Newspaper Collection. p. 1. Retrieved September 20, 2017. Other Los Rios speech team members winning awards included:...Tani Cantil, a third in rhetorical analysis
  11. ^ Pizzo, Laura. "Alumna Chief Justice Comes Back". UC Davis Alumni Association. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  12. ^ "Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Class of 1984". UC Davis Law School. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  13. ^ "Full Biography for Tani Cantil-Sakauye - Candidate for California State Court of Appeal; District 3". League of Women Voters.
  14. ^ McCarthy, Nancy (December 2010). "Still awed by the judicial branch's top job, the new chief justice digs in". California Bar Journal. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  15. ^ "California Chief Justice, Indian American Attorneys Honored by SABA-SoCal". IndiaWest.com. March 31, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  16. ^ a b c d Ashley, Ruthe (January 2005). "Madam Justice of the Third District Court of Appeal: Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye". Sacramento Lawyer. Archived from the original on January 22, 2014.
  17. ^ a b c "Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Tani Cantil-Sakauye as his Nominee for Supreme Court Chief Justice". Office of the Governor of California. July 21, 2010.
  18. ^ "Report: Gov. to name Asian American chief justice". San Diego Union-Tribune. Associated Press. July 21, 2010. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  19. ^ "U-T editorial: Madam Justice". San Diego Union-Tribune. July 26, 2010. Retrieved September 22, 2017.
  20. ^ Dolan, Maura (August 25, 2010). "L.A. Now: Panel approves Tani Cantil-Sakauye's nomination for chief justice of California high court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  21. ^ Egelko, Bob (August 24, 2010). "Top rating for judicial pick Tani Cantil-Sakauye". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  22. ^ Egelko, Bob (November 3, 2010). "Tani Cantil-Sakauye confirmed as chief justice". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  23. ^ "Nov. 2 Election Results". Trinity Journal. 10 November 2010. p. 7. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "California Courts: Courts: Courts of Appeal: 3rd District: Justices:, Associate Justice". California Judicial Council. 27 July 2021.
  25. ^ Cantil-Sakauye, Tani G. (April 19, 2017). "Editorial: California chief justice: The courthouse is not the place for immigration enforcement". Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  26. ^ "California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye Announces Decision to Retire".
  27. ^ "Editorial: Move California traffic tickets into civil courts". Pasadena Star-News. June 21, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  28. ^ Cadelago, Christopher (March 10, 2016). "Is California's bail system 'fair to all?' state chief justice asks". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  29. ^ Editorial Board (January 12, 2017). "A traffic infraction shouldn't lead to the poorhouse". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017. California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has been advocating an overhaul of the system of traffic penalties and the related bail system, which also falls heaviest on poor people.
  30. ^ Editorial Board (January 12, 2017). "Getting people out of jail. How's that for a worthy bipartisan cause?". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  31. ^ Littlefield, Dana (June 10, 2017). "Column: Battle over changing California's bail system wages on despite legislative setback". San Diego Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  32. ^ Koseff, Alexei (July 11, 2017). "Ending bail worries California judges". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  33. ^ Egelko, Bob (August 9, 2017). "Drivers hit by big traffic fines get a break under legal settlement". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  34. ^ Luna, Taryn (August 25, 2017). "No California bail reform this year, governor announces". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  35. ^ Bizjak, Tony; Sullivan, Molly; Koseff, Alexei (August 28, 2018). "How will no cash bail work in California? Here are answers to common questions". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  36. ^ Ulloa, Jazmine (August 22, 2018). "California Senate sends landmark bail reform bill to Gov. Jerry Brown". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 22, 2018. the bill...had taken into consideration...recommendations from a judicial task force assembled by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye.
  37. ^ Egelko, Bob (August 28, 2018). "Gov. Jerry Brown signs bill eliminating California's cash-bail system". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  38. ^ Sullivan, Molly; Holzer, Hannah (August 29, 2018). "'It's over, it's a wrap, we're done.' Sacramento's storied bail bondsmen say new law is 'stupid'". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved August 30, 2018.
  39. ^ Mathews, Joe (May 5, 2017). "Opinion: California's court system is failing us, and it would be relatively cheap to fix it". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  40. ^ Egelko, Bob (July 4, 2017). "Budget cuts force SF courts to trim some services". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017. the contention of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye that trial courts badly needed more funding after years of cuts.
  41. ^ Walters, Dan (May 29, 2017). "California courts do poorly in competition for funds". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  42. ^ Egelko, Bob (September 1, 2016). "State Bar asks high court for authority to collect dues". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  43. ^ Walters, Dan (September 12, 2016). "As Legislature deadlocks, State Bar asks Supreme Court for money". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  44. ^ Walters, Dan (October 17, 2016). "Legislative stalemate on State Bar dues morphs into a new battle". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  45. ^ Walters, Dan (October 17, 2016). "California Supreme Court gives State Bar dues revenue, but less than it wanted". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  46. ^ "Civic Learning Initiative: Power of Democracy". California State Courts. Retrieved September 21, 2017. Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye is committed to a broad and far-reaching effort to improve civic learning and engagement in California. This initiative, known as the Power of Democracy campaign, is supported by statewide partners who help revitalize democracy and promote access to justice in California.
  47. ^ Maio, Pat (April 23, 2015). "Top judicial official touts school". San Diege Union-Tribune. Retrieved September 20, 2017. 'Excellence' award, considered the highest honor in a program launched three years ago by the chief justice to improve civic awareness among public school students.
  48. ^ Kalb, Loretta (September 20, 2016). "Interim UCD chancellor seeks to inspire more civil discourse". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017. a keynote address by state Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye about the need for a higher level of civil discourse and response to conflict.
  49. ^ Luna, Taryn (November 18, 2016). "Governor, chief justice speak about importance of jury trials". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  50. ^ Hart, Angela (March 16, 2017). "Quit stalking immigrants at California courthouses, chief justice tells ICE". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  51. ^ Egelko, Bob (March 16, 2017). "State's chief justice steps up criticism of immigration officials". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  52. ^ Hawkins, Derek (March 28, 2017). "California chief justice blasts immigration crackdown, says rule of law is 'being challenged'". Washington Post. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  53. ^ "Following Pasadena Courthouse Immigration Arrest, California's Chief Justice Asks Trump Administration to Stop Court 'Stalking'". Pasadena News Now. March 17, 2017. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  54. ^ Hart, Angela (August 22, 2017). "Speaking out against immigration raids is her duty, California justice says". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  55. ^ Queally, James (March 19, 2017). "Immigration arrests at courts spark backlash from lawyers, judges". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  56. ^ Egelko, Bob (April 6, 2017). "California prosecutors protest immigration arrests at courthouses". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved September 20, 2017.
  57. ^ Mejia, Brittny; Ulloa, Jazmine (August 29, 2018). "ICE arrests in courtrooms escalate feud between California and Trump administration over immigration policy". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved August 29, 2018.
  58. ^ Asimov, Nanette; Egelko, Bob (2022-03-03). "UC Berkeley must withhold thousands of acceptance letters after state Supreme Court ruling". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved 2022-03-06.
  59. ^ https://www.adrservices.com/chief-justice-tani-cantil-sakauye-joins-adr-services-inc/
  60. ^ https://www.saccourt.ca.gov/general/docs/statement-new-court-name-091923.Pdf
  61. ^ Elias, Paul (July 22, 2010). "Governor introduces Calif chief justice nominee". San Diego Union-Tribune.
  62. ^ Morain, Dan (14 December 2018). "Chief justice of the California Supreme Court leaves the Republican Party, citing Kavanaugh". Calmatters.

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court
Succeeded by