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The 2017 Pension Political Power 25: Tani Cantil-Sakauye

< 25 Top Pension Power Players7. Tani Cantil-SakauyeCalifornia Chief Justice

The fate of California’s defined benefit pensions — and potentially those in every state — now lies in the hands of California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, 57, and her six fellow judges. If California’s top court rules that promised pension benefits can be taken away, that may open the door to drastic pension overhauls, removing an obstacle that has long frustrated would-be reformers around the country. For public employee retirees in Marin County, it could be “good-bye, pension spiking; hello, benefit adjustments.” The story so far: In 1955 the Supreme Court of California ruled that under the state’s commerce clause, benefits that had been promised to workers could not be taken away — though reasonable modifications were allowed if they included some comparable new advantages. This decision, known as the California rule, has been used by courts throughout the U.S. and its territories to stave off pension reform. Last year, though, a San Francisco court unanimously upheld a Marin County pension reform effort. The decision was challenged, and Cantil-Sakauye’s court has agreed to hear the case. — Imogen Rose-Smith

 The 2017 Pension Political Power 25Click below to view profiles
1. Andy PuzderSecretary of Labor2. Bruce RaunerGovernor of Illinois3. Betsy DeVosSecretary of Education4. Laura & John ArnoldFounders,
Laura and John Arnold Foundation5. Steven MnuchinSecretary of the Treasury
6. Wilbur RossSecretary of Commerce7. Tani Cantil-SakauyeCalifornia Chief Justice8. Paul RyanSpeaker of the House9. Anthony ScaramucciFounder, SkyBridge Capital10. Kevin de LeónCalifornia State Senator and President Pro Tempore
11. Mike EnziChairman, Senate Subcommittee on Primary Health and Retirement Security12. Steve SweeneyPresident,
New Jersey State Senate13. Jerry BrownGovernor of California14. Corey LewandowskiCo-founder, Avenue Strategies15. Paul SingerPresident,
Elliott Management Corp.
16. Randel JohnsonSenior Vice President, Labor, Immigration, and Employee Benefits, U.S. Chamber of Commerce17. Joe ManchinU.S. Senator18. Kenneth FeinbergFounder and managingpartner, Feinberg Rozen19. Scott WalkerGovernor of Wisconsin20. Richard TrumkaPresident, AFL-CIO
21. Mike RawlingsMayor of Dallas22. Elizabeth WarrenU.S. Senator23. Kent MasonPartner,
Davis & Harman24. Bernie SandersU.S. Senator25. Randi WeingartenPresident, American Federation of Teachers