California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye plans to retire after her term of office ends next year on January 1, NBC reports. Cantil-Sakauye is the state’s first Filipinx American and second female chief justice.
Cantil-Sakauye announced that she would not seek reelection Wednesday, the Los Angeles Times reports. California Supreme Court justices are initially chosen by the governor but must be elected by both voters and the state judicial commission, going on to serve 12-year terms.
“It’s just time after 12 years as chief and 32 years total wearing a black robe,” Cantil-Sakauye said, according to NBC.
The justice’s career includes working as a Sacramento County prosecutor and Sacramento appeals court judge, LA Times reports. Cantil-Sakauye also worked as a deputy legal affairs secretary and deputy legislative secretary with former Gov. George Deukmejian.
“As a judge I saw the devastating effects of family violence and established the first court in Sacramento dedicated solely to domestic violence issues,” Cantil-Sakauye said, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. “As Chief Justice I continue to keep in mind the faces behind the cases and remain focused on the goal of providing all Californians with equal, fair, and accessible justice.”
Born and raised in Sacramento, Cantil-Sakauye also alluded to her upbringing as a child of immigrants in her announcement, SF Chronicle reports.
“My first interaction with our justice system was when my family faced eviction from our home and my mother felt helpless,” Cantil-Sakauye said, SF Chronicle reports. “As the daughter of farm workers, I experienced in my community what it was like to stand up for your rights and demand protections. As a wife I felt the impact of unjust Japanese internment on my in-laws.”
According to the LA Times, Cantil-Sakauye gained “national attention” after pushing the Trump administration to stop the use of federal immigration agents at Californian courthouses in 2017, where the agents were allegedly “stalking” people.
“Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country’s immigration laws,” Cantil-Sakauye said in 2017, LA Times reports.
Governor Gavin Newsom is expected to present a selection to replace Cantil-Sakauye, according to the LA Times.
“[Cantil-Sakauye] steered our state’s courts through times of great challenge and opportunity, championing important reforms to make our justice system fairer and more transparent, ” Newsom said in a statement.
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