Tani Cantil-Sakauye

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Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye
28th Chief Justice of California
Assumed office
January 3, 2011
Nominated by Arnold Schwarzenegger
Preceded by Ronald M. George
Personal details
Born (1959-10-19) October 19, 1959 (age 59)
Sacramento, California
Alma mater University of California Davis School of Law
Sacramento City College

Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye (born October 19, 1959), a Filipino-American jurist, is the 28th Chief Justice of California. Nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger for California's highest judicial office on July 22, 2010, and retained in office by California voters on November 2, 2010, she was sworn in on January 3, 2011.[1] Prior to her current appointment, Cantil-Sakauye had served in judicial offices on California's appellate and trial courts.

Early life and education

Born in Sacramento, California, as Tani Gorre Cantil, she was raised in the Land Park neighborhood of Sacramento and earned her high school diploma from C. K. McClatchy High School in 1977, her A.A. from Sacramento City College in 1978, her B.A. from the University of California, Davis in 1980, and her J.D. from UC Davis School of Law in 1984.[2] Cantil-Sakauye is technically of mixed descent. Her Hawaiian-born father, Clarence, was of Filipino and Portuguese ancestry, while her mother, Mary Gorre, was Filipino.[3]

Legal career

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.[4] The Sacramento County Public Defender's Office had refused to hire her because of her age at the time.[4] 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.[4]

In 1988, Cantil left the District Attorney's office to become a Deputy Legal Affairs Secretary to Governor George Deukmejian.[5] The next year, Deukmejian appointed Cantil as a Deputy Legislative Secretary.[5]

Judicial career

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

In 1990, Deukmejian appointed her as a Judge of the Sacramento Municipal Court.[1] She left the Municipal Court in 1997 when Governor Pete Wilson appointed Cantil-Sakauye as a judge of the Sacramento County Superior Court.[1] She served there until 2005, when Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Cantil-Sakauye as an Associate Justice of the California Third District Court of Appeal.[1]

On July 21, 2010, Schwarzenegger nominated Cantil-Sakauye, who is also a Republican, to succeed retiring Chief Justice of California Ronald M. George.[5] On August 25, 2010 the three-member California Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously approved her nomination as the next chief justice of California.[6] The voters in the November 2010 general elections subsequently retained her for a 12-year term as Chief Justice.[7]

During her time as an appeals court justice, Associate Justice Cantil-Sakauye 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 also a member of the California Commission on Impartial Courts. She has served as President of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court, which is an organization for 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.[8]

Personal life

She married Mark Sakauye in 1994,[4] who is a retired Sacramento Police Department Lieutenant.[1] Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Lieutenant Sakauye have two daughters.[9]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 "Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye". Judicial Council of California.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Full Biography for Tani Cantil-Sakauye - Candidate for California State Court of Appeal; District 3". League of Women Voters.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. McCarthy, Nancy (December 2010). "Still awed by the judicial branch's top job, the new chief justice digs in". California Bar Journal. Retrieved 26 September 2012.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 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.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Gov. Schwarzenegger Announces Tani Cantil-Sakauye as his Nominee for Supreme Court Chief Justice". Office of the Governor of California. July 21, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "L.A. Now". Los Angeles Times. August 25, 2010.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. Egelko, Bob (November 3, 2010). "Tani Cantil-Sakauye confirmed as chief justice". San Francisco Chronicle.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "California Courts: Courts: Courts of Appeal: 3rd District: Justices:, Associate Justice". California Judicial Council.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. Elias, Paul (July 22, 2010). "Governor introduces Calif chief justice nominee". San Diego Union-Tribune.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

Legal offices
Preceded by
Daniel M. Kolkey
Associate Justice of the
California Court of Appeal
for the Third Appellate District

January 5, 2005–January 2, 2011
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Ronald M. George
Chief Justice of California
January 3, 2011–present