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Portrait of Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye

Chief Justice of California

Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye was sworn into office in January 2011 as the 28th Chief Justice of California—the first Asian-Filipina American and the second woman to serve in this capacity. During her tenure, she has fought for reform of court funding models and procedures that unfairly impact the poor, such as fines, fees, and the bail system. She was the first chief justice in the country to ask federal authorities to protect the integrity of the state court system by not arresting undocumented residents at courthouses. She has been recognized for her work on civics and for advancing the role of women and minorities in the legal profession. In 2019, she was honored with the Sandra Day O’Connor Award by the National Center for State Courts for her work inspiring, promoting, and improving civics education. During the COVID-19 pandemic she pushed for remote court operations and issued hundreds of emergency orders so that courts continue to operate safely. She also launched a program to make retired judges available to fast track the resolution of some criminal cases. All of her initiatives support her vision for a judicial branch that provides physical access through safe and secure courthouses, remote access through technology initiatives, and equal access for all Californians.