California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil Sakauye

On January 3, 2011 Filipino American Tani Cantil Sakauye became the 28th Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. She was elected to the office on November 2, 2010 while serving as a member of the Court of Appeals for the Third Appellate District.

On July 21, 2010 Cantil Sakauye was nominated by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to succeed retiring Chief Justice Ronald M. George. She was rated by the California State Bar Judicial Nomination Evaluation Commission as exceptionally well qualified for the position. The nomination was unanimously approved on August 25, 2010 by the three-member California Commission on Judicial Appointments. In the November 2 general election the voters elected Cantil Sakauye to a full 12-year term as Chief Justice.

Cantil Sakauye began her judicial career in 1990 when she was appointed to the Sacramento Municipal Court by Governor George Deukmejian. She was elevated to the Superior Court in 1997 by Governor Pete Wilson. There Cantil Sakauye started and presided over the first Sacramento court dedicated to domestic violence cases.

Cantil Sakauye was born in 1959 in Sacramento where she attended C. K. McClatchy High School. After graduating she attended Sacramento City College for a year before transferring to the University of California at Davis. She graduated with honors in 1980, then interrupted her education to spend a year in the Philippines before starting at UC Davis Law School in 1981. Upon graduating in 1984 she prosecuted criminal cases at the Sacramento District Attorney’s Office. In 1988 Cantil Sakauye became a senior staffer for Governor Deukmejian, serving as both deputy legal affairs secretary and as a deputy legislative secretary.

Cantil Sakauye is married to retired Police Lieutenant Mark Sakauye. They have two teen daughters. Cantil Sakauye has been active as a leader of a Brownie and junior Girl Scout Troop.