By Jeremy M. Evans
One era will come to an end and one will begin as the wonderful current California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye will retire from the court, while the excellent Justice Patricia Guerrero has been named the newest Chief Justice.
Chief Justice’s Cantil-Sakauye and Guerrero both hold a special place in the California Lawyers Association’s and my heart for their excellence service to the community, friendship, and incredible legal acumen and personalities. For twelve years, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye has focused on equal access to justice, civic education, and reform of court funding models and procedures that unfairly impact the poor. In 2010, Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was appointed to the court by then California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. Chief Cantil-Sakauye led the court through one its most difficult and trying times during the Covid-19 pandemic. In a demonstration of her tenacity to hard work, after law school when she could not find work, she worked as a blackjack dealer in Reno, Nevada.
Justice Guerrero has served on the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District in San Diego, California, the Superior Court of San Diego County, and prior to that worked for Am 100 law firm Lathan and Watkins and for U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of California. Judge Evans currently serves on the Superior Court of Alameda County and attend law school in the Sacramento area like Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye, while Justice Guerrero is from the Imperial Valley. Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye and Judge Evans both graduated from UC Davis School of Law, while Justice Guerrero graduated from Stanford Law School. Justice Guerrero also led the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Bar Exam prior to being appointed to the State’s highest court.
Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye was the first Filipino American and second woman, while Chief Justice Guerrero will be the first Latina American appointed to the California Supreme Court. Judge Kelli Evans will join Chief Justice Guerrero as the two newest appointees to the State’s highest court pursuant to current Governor Gavin Newsom’s appointment. We are looking forward to continuing our great relationship with new Chief Justice Guerrero and wishing the most success to both Justice Guerrero and Judge Evans.
The Chief Justice is the leader of the state’s third branch of government, the Judicial Branch. In addition to a chief justice’s role on the California Supreme Court, the position carries constitutional duties include serving as chair of the Judicial Council and chair of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
So welcome to Chief Justice Guerrero and a heartfelt farewell to Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye. Godspeed to both. Thank you for your service to the community. We will continue to support you as best we can.
Jeremy M. Evans
President, California Lawyers Association