State High Court Justice Ming Chin announces retirement

California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin announced Jan. 15 that he plans to retire on Aug. 31 after nearly 25 years on the panel.

California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin. courtesy of California Courts

The retirement will give Gov. Gavin Newsom the chance to make his first appointment to the seven-member court, which has its headquarters in San Francisco.

Chin, 77, was the court’s first Chinese American justice and is currently its longest-serving member. He was appointed by Gov. Pete Wilson in 1996 after serving on the Alameda County Superior Court and the state Court of Appeal.

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye said, “His signature mix of intelligence, wisdom and practicality will be greatly missed.”

Chin was the son of Chinese immigrants and grew up working on the family’s potato farm in Oregon. He attended college and law school at the University of San Francisco.

He wrote more than 350 majority opinions during his time on the high court. One of those decisions was a landmark ruling that made it possible for spousal abuse to be used as a defense in murder cases.

Chin also served on committees on court administration and use of technology in the courts.

Cantil-Sakauye said, “He has been a leader in helping our courts embrace technology to expand access to justice to all Californians.”

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