Season 2, Episode 27: Entire Interview of PPIC President & Former CA Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye on California Exodus, Aging California Population, Election, SCOTUS, and More 30 Jun, 2024


Joanne Z. Tan, host and producer of “Interviews of Notables and Influencers” of 10 Plus Podcast, asked more than 22 questions during an 1-hour-50-minute interview of Tani Cantil-Sakauye, former Chief Justice of California Supreme Court for 11 years, and current President of the Public Policy Institute of California on June 24, 2024. They discussed urgent topics such as the California Exodus, drought and water, aging California population, federal election, ethic rules and term limits for US Supreme Court Justices, democracy, and more.

This episode contains the ENTIRE interview that addressed three parts:

– Part One: Tani’s journey, lessons learned, and insights from being the Chief Justice on the highest court in California;

– Part 2: California’s economy and future;

– Part 3: Election reform, federalism, and democracy.

–  Please SHARE it! Thank you.

To read as a blog

To watch as a video

Part 1 Questions: Tani’s lessons & insights as Chief Justice of CA Supreme Court and

her personal journey

(1) Q: How did you choose your path? What were your challenges and satisfactions as a California Supreme Court Chief Justice? What lessons would you like to share with us from serving on the state Supreme Court?

(2) Q: As a role model, raised in a non-privileged background, what qualities and mindset are the most important for your achievements and continued growth? What wisdom can you share with people of all backgrounds?

(3) Facts or Opinions? – Are critical thinking and human intelligence needed to process information and Decipher Facts from Media, Social Media, AI

(4) Q: As a personal branding expert and a business brand builder, I ask all my honored guests this question: What does your brand stand for?

(5) Q: Are you considering running for any office in the future?

Part 2 Questions: California Exodus, Aging California Population, Water Shortage, AI, and

California’s Economy and the Future

(6) Q: About AI and regulations. AI is being widely adopted across many industries globally, and is playing a significant role in reducing costs and increasing productivity. ( 

But at the same time, AI is making fake information, disinformation, as well as its distribution a lot easier, faster, and with more impact (based on the Economist Magazine in May 2024 featured two articles: “Fighting disinformation gets harder, just when it matters most”, while “Producing fake information is getting easier” (


What is the legislative balance between controlling the harm from AI generated or facilitated false information, and not killing the golden goose of AI technology?

(7) Q: California’s aging population: What are the anticipated consequences, and how are we going to tackle the issue? Can AI offset the shrinking productive population, since AI increases productivity and decreases labor cost?

(8) Q: Related or unrelated to the aging population issue, do border-crossing, undocumented immigrants actually help with the labor shortage? Is it also related to political advantage, i.e. the number of congressional seats are based on the census?  What will California do with the border crossing issue? 

(9) Q: Insurance:  Many insurance companies for residential homes have left California. The lack of competition has resulted in much higher premiums for all Californians. What can be done about it?

(10) Q: High housing cost for Californians and exodus to other states: Californian families are leaving for other states where housing and living expenses are lower. What are the ramifications for the mid and long term California economy? Does it lead to brain drain? 

(11) Q: Homelessness and the implementation of Prop. 1: What improvement have we seen? How can the implementation be improved? Who is accountable? 

(12) Q: Increase of minimum wage for California fast food workers and the ripple effects: A Bloomberg article on April 16, 2024 pointed out the impact of California minimum wage hike for fast food workers on prolonging inflation and delaying the Fed’s rate cut.  Now, California consumers have to pay more for fast food because the increased wage was passed down to the buyers, and most of the fast food consumers are not well off. Is it a case of robbing Peter to pay Paul? Does this well-intended law result in delayed inflation recovery for everyone? Is legislation interfering with the free market?

(13) Q: The high cost of doing business in California creates an exodus of businesses to other states. Many are leaving due to pro-labor legislation that burdens employers. What can the state legislature do to keep the cost down for businesses?

(14) Q: What does the state government need to do to keep tech giants like Google, Apple, Nvidia and others in Silicon Valley?

(15) Q: Budget deficits and tax increases: In the tech industry, there are fewer IPOs now, and less tax from capital gains for the government. (,are%20taxed%20by%20the%20state.) 

Budget deficits exist at both state and local levels.  The California Supreme Court will hear arguments on the legality of a ballot measure that would strip the Legislature and governor of the ability to increase taxes (The Los Angeles Times reports). Tax increases will further the exodus of companies and Californians out of California. Are there any other options for dealing with budget deficits?

(16) Q: Bullet trains:  Are they ever going to be completed, after three decades? ( – The Economist’s article, May 17, 2024:

(17) Q: Drought and water shortage due to global warming: Governor Newsom was talking about building reservoirs. What can we do to make it happen, hopefully not in three decades since global warming might turn California into a desert in 30 years without us taking actions NOW?

Part 3 Questions: Federal election reform; SCOTUS Ethics Rules & Term Limits, Republic Democracy

(18) Q: Rank Choice Voting:  It has been advocated by some very intelligent Harvard professors and political consultants. Rank Choice Voting is already used in some gubernatorial and mayoral elections, can it be used in primaries for presidential elections? (As advocated in the book The Politics Industry: How Political Innovation Can Break Partisan Gridlock and Save Our Democracy, by Katherine Gehl and Michael Porter, a Harvard Business School professor.)

(19) Q: Term Limits for US Supreme Court Justices: Stanford Professors Larry Diamond and other highly respected voices recommend term limits for SCOTUS, which is gaining traction widely in the US.  Some suggested the term limit to be at age 75, or three terms of six years, and the fourth term is up to six years.  Stanford Professor Larry Diamond in his book “Ill Winds” suggests limiting every SCOTUS’ term to 18 years. What do you think?

(20) Ethic rules for SCOTUSes:  In light of the revelations about accepting lavish gifts for decades by the US Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, do you think Congress needs to make ENFORCEABLE ethics rules that will hold SCOTUSES liable, since no one is above the law? If any of the SCOTUSES violate them, who should enforce the rules, and what would be the punishment?

(21) Q: Regarding the principles of federalism, state power, and our republic. This may be a loaded question, but I think we all want to hear from your perspective. The United States was founded on the principle of a republic consisting of independent states, where federal laws and state laws are independent and separate. This question is not meant to be political (I know that your political party affiliation is independent, and I respect that) . I’d like to use the current conviction of former President Donald Trump by New York State Court to learn about federal court limitations and potential over-reach.

Federalism, checks and balances: Assume this scenario: IF the US Supreme Court rules that a sitting president has Absolute Immunity, (which sounds like the power of a king), and further rules that the New York conviction must be retried, vacated, or even overruled, on the ground that the falsification of business records under New York Law is related to the FEDERAL election, even though the illegal act related to federal election deprived citizens their right to be informed, which is a FEDERAL crime, will the federal Absolute Immunity override New York state law, under the Supremacy Clause (since Trump wrote the check to reimburse the hush money after inauguration, presumably under Absolute Immunity protection)?

If the US Supreme Court indeed rules as such, what are the ramifications, in your opinion, for our foundational principles of independent state and federal judiciaries? Would that be an overreach by the federal judicial branch?

What harm would Absolute Immunity do to the checks and balances of our government?

Same scenario, same questions, but with Limited Immunity instead of Absolute Immunity.

(22) Q: About civility, the prerequisite for democracy. The vitriol, the hatred, the partisanship, the mutual blaming… All of these are eating America up from inside. What do you think each citizen should do, to restore civility, respect for institutions, public office, healthy debates, and save our democracy?

Disclaimer: I take a completely non-partisan approach to economic policy, election reform, and judicial issues. All my questions here are issue-based, not through the lens of politics or political partisanship, even though I regard myself as a centrist Democrat.

© Joanne Z. Tan   All rights reserved.


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