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Name: Cantil-Sakauye, Tani Gorre
Current Position: Chief Justice

Tani Gorre Cantil-Sakauye, sworn in as chief justice in January 2011, is the first Asian- American and second woman to hold the top post on the High Court.

She attended C.K. McClatchy High School and Sacramento City College before graduating with a bachelor of arts degree in 1980 from the University of California, Davis. She received her JD from Martin Luther King, Jr. School of Law in 1984.

After graduation, Cantil-Sakauye worked as a deputy district attorney in the Sacramento County DA’s office before taking a job in 1988 on Governor George Deukmejian’s senior staff. During her tenure there, she served as deputy legal affairs secretary and as a deputy legislative secretary.

Deukmejian appointed Cantil-Sakauye to the Sacramento Municipal Court in 1990 and seven years later Governor Pete Wilson elevated her to the Superior Court of Sacramento County. In that position, she established and presided over the first court in Sacramento dedicated solely to domestic violence issues. She also chaired the court’s criminal law committee and was a member of the presiding judge’s task force on domestic violence.

Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger nominated her to the Court of Appeal, Third Appellate District, in 2005. Three years later, Chief Justice Ronald M. George picked her for a spot on the Judicial Council where she has served as vice-chair of the Executive and Planning Committee, vice-chair of the Rules and Projects Committee, chair of the Advisory Committee on Financial Accountability and Efficiency for the Judicial Branch, and co-chair of the Judicial Recruitment and Retention Working Group.

Cantil-Sakauye has been a member of the California Commission for Impartial Courts and the Judicial Council's Domestic Violence Practice and Procedure Task Force. She is president of the Anthony M. Kennedy American Inn of Court, an organization focused on civility, ethics and professionalism in the legal profession. She has been a Supreme Court-selected special master since 2007, hearing disciplinary proceedings before the Judicial Council.

Cantil-Sakauye is married to retired police Lieutenant Mark Sakauye and has two daughters.


About the Chief (Judicial Branch website)

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