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Outgoing California chief justice takes new job as head of nonpartisan think tank

“After all, who can say ‘no’ to facts?” former California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said of her new gig as head of the Public Policy Institute of California, an independent policy research organization.

SAN FRANCISCO (CN) — True to her vow to stay out of politics, former California Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye has taken a new job as president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California.

“I am both humbled and honored to have another opportunity to serve,” Cantil-Sakauye said in a statement Wednesday. “I understand this role will be different from my current one and yet I believe my skillset and experience have prepared me well for this task. I am fully committed to PPIC’s nonpartisan mission and efforts to improve public policy in California through independent research — without a thumb on the scale. After all, who can say ‘no’ to facts?

In July, the former head of the state’s highest court said she would not seek reelection in November and had decided to retire when her term expires on Jan. 1. Her new role at the PPIC will start that same day.

It comes as little surprise that the moderate jurist’s next gig would be with a nonpartisan outfit. In 2018, she left the Republican Party and changed her affiliation to no-party preference.

In August, Cantil-Sakauye reiterated that she’s “done with politics,” telling The New York Times, "That’s still true, if not stronger than ever.”

The organization's board of directors voted unanimously to appoint Cantil-Sakauye to the role, citing her strong track record for impartiality, her leadership skills, and her experience managing budgets as the head of the largest court system in the nation.

“It goes without saying that I and the members of the PPIC board of directors are absolutely thrilled that the chief justice will lend her extraordinary talents, expertise, and stature to advance our unique purpose and mission,” Steve Merksamer, PPIC’s immediate past board chair, said in a statement. “PPIC’s role as a nonpartisan, independent, fact-based resource for policymakers and influencers in the state is more important than it has ever been and having a thoughtful, seasoned and experienced leader at the helm is critical. Tani Cantil-Sakauye is such a leader.” 

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