Ming Chin

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Ming Chin
Court Information:
California Supreme Court
Title:   Associate justice
Salary:  $221,292
Appointed by:   Gov. Pete Wilson (R)
Active:   1996-2023
Past post:   Judge, California First District Court of Appeal
Past chief:   1994-1996
Past term:   1990-1996
Past post 2:   Judge, Alameda County Superior Court
Past term 2:   1988-1990
Personal History
Born:   August 31, 1942
Undergraduate:   University of San Francisco, 1964
Law School:   University of San Francisco, 1967
Military service:   United States Army, 1967-1969; United States Army Reserve, 1969-1971

Ming W. Chin is an associate justice on the seven-member California Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in the state's Commission-selection, political appointment method of judicial selection on March 1, 1996, by former Republican Governor Pete Wilson. Chin was retained to additional twelve-year terms in November 1998 and November 2010. His current term will end on January 3, 2023.[1]


Chin earned his undergraduate degree in political science from the University of San Francisco in 1964. He earned his J.D. from the University of San Francisco in 1967.[1]

Military service

After graduating from law school, Chin served for two years in the United States Army and another two years in the Army Reserves.[1]


Following his admission to the bar in 1970, Chin served three years as a deputy district attorney for Alameda County. In 1973, Chin joined the law firm of Aiken, Kramer & Cummings, Inc. as the head of the trial department. He was then appointed to the Alameda County Superior Court by former Republican Governor George Deukmejian on January 6, 1988. Chin was then appointed to the First District Court of Appeal, Division Three, again by Governor Deukmejian on August 7, 1990, to serve as an associate justice. Only four years in to his 12-year term, former Republican Governor Pete Wilson appointed him as presiding judge of that court in 1994. Wilson then appointed Chin to the California Supreme Court on March 1, 1996.[1]

Awards and associations


  • 2010: Lifetime Achievement Award, Orange County Asian American Bar Association
  • 2009: Jurist of the Year Award, Judicial Council of California
  • 2008: Saint Thomas More Award, St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco
  • 2007: Legal Impact Award, Asian Law Alliance
  • 2006: Commitment to Community Award, Asian Pacific Bar Association of Silicon Valley
  • 2005: Distinguished Faculty Service, Judicial Council of California, Education Division
  • 2004: Asian Pacific American Heritage Month Award, United States Attorney
  • 1999: Trailblazer Award, National Asian Pacific American Bar Association
  • 1998: Citizen of the Year Award, Chinese Americans United for Self Empowerment
  • 1998: Public Service & Government Leadership Award, Asian Business Association
  • 1997: Honoree for Service in the Field of Law, Chinese Consolidated Benevolent Association & Chinese Women's Association of America
  • 1997: Legal Impact Award, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California
  • 1997: Learned Hand Award, American Jewish Committee, San Fransico Bay Chapter
  • 1996: St. Thomas More Award, University of San Fransico School of Law
  • 1993: Alumnus of the Year, University of San Fransico School of Law
  • 1989: Outstanding Judge of the Year, Southern Alameda County Bar Association
  • 1988: Alumnus of the Year, University of San Fransico
  • 1985: Distinguished Service Award, University of San Fransico Alumni Association
  • 1969: Commendation Medal, United States Army
  • 1969: Bronze Star, United States Army
  • 1964: McQuade Award for Journalism, University of San Fransisco[1]


  • Member, Alpha Sigma Nu,
  • Member, National Jesuit Honor Society
  • Member, California Judges Association, Public Information and Education Committee
  • 2007-Present: Chair, California Commission for Impartial Courts
  • 2005-2007: Chair, Judicial Council of California, Science and the Law Steering Committee
  • 2002-Present: Chair, Judicial Council of California, Court Technology Advisory Committee
  • 1997-1998: President, Commonwealth Club of California
  • 1996: Chairman, Commonwealth Club of California, Executive Committee
  • 1995: Chairman, Commonwealth Club of California, Program Committee
  • 1993-Present: Board of Governors, Commonwealth Club of California
  • 1993-1998: Chairman, University of San Francisco Academic Affairs Committee
  • 1993-1996: Member, Judicial Council of California, Appellate Advisory Committee
  • 1993-1994: Member, State Bar of California, Executive Committee of the State Bar Court
  • 1992-Present: Member, Commonwealth Club of California Program Committee
  • 1990-1997: Member, Judicial Council of California, Advisory Committee on Racial and Ethnic Bias
  • 1990-1992: Member, San Francisco District Attorney's Commission on Hate Crimes
  • 1989-1993: Adjunct Professor of Law, University of San Francisco
  • 1988-1998: Member, University of San Francisco Academic Affairs Committee
  • 1988-Present: Member, California Judges Association
  • 1987: President, Alameda County Bar Association
  • 1986-1988, 1993-1998: Member, University of San Francisco Executive Committee
  • 1986: Vice-president, Alameda County Bar Association
  • 1985-1997: Member, University of San Francisco Board of Trustees
  • 1985-1988: Board of Directors, First District Agricultural Association
  • 1985-1988: Member, University of San Francisco Personnel Committee
  • 1983-1988: Board of Directors, Alameda County Bar Association
  • 1983-1986: Delegate, State Bar of California, Conference of Delegates
  • 1983-1984: President, University of San Francisco Alumni Association
  • 1980-Present: Board of Counselors, University of San Francisco School of Law
  • 1978-1984: Member, University of San Francisco Alumni Board of Governors
  • 1978-1984: Referee, State Bar of California, State Bar Court
  • 1978-Present: Member, Commonwealth Club of California
  • 1964: Editor, University of San Francisco Yearbook[2][1]



California Supreme Court, Associate Justice
2010 General election results
Candidates Votes Percent
Ming Chin Green check mark transparent.png 4,599,967 65.5%
Against retention 2,427,421 34.5%
  • Click here for 2010 General Election Results from the California Secretary of State.

Political ideology

See also: Political ideology of State Supreme Court Justices

In October 2012, political science professors Adam Bonica and Michael Woodruff of Stanford University attempted to determine the partisan ideology of state supreme court justices in their paper, State Supreme Court Ideology and 'New Style' Judicial Campaigns. A score above 0 indicated a more conservative leaning ideology while scores below 0 are more liberal. Chin received a Campaign finance score (CFscore) of -0.97, indicating a liberal ideological leaning. This is more liberal than the average CF score of -0.32 that justices received in California. The study is based on data from campaign contributions by judges themselves, the partisan leaning of contributors to the judges or, in the absence of elections, the ideology of the appointing body (governor or legislature). This study is not a definitive label of a justice, but an academic gauge of various factors.[3]

See also

External links