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Ming William Chin (Chinese: 陳惠明; born August 31, 1942) is an American attorney and Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California from March 1, 1996, to the present.

Ming Chin
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
Assumed office
March 1, 1996
Appointed byPete Wilson
Preceded byArmand Arabian
Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First District, Division Three
In office
January 2, 1995 – March 1, 1996
Appointed byPete Wilson
Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First District
In office
August 1990 – January 2, 1995
Appointed byGeorge Deukmejian
Personal details
Born (1942-08-31) August 31, 1942 (age 76)
Klamath Falls, Oregon, U.S.
Carol Joe (m. 1971)
ChildrenJennifer and Jason
Alma materUniversity of San Francisco, (B.A., J.D.)
Ming Chin
Traditional Chinese陳惠明
Simplified Chinese陈惠明
Hanyu PinyinChén Huìmíng



Chin was born and raised in Klamath Falls, Oregon.[1] His family moved to San Jose, California, and he attended Bellarmine College Preparatory, graduating in 1960. Chin then received a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from the University of San Francisco in 1964.[2] Subsequently, he studied at the University of San Francisco School of Law, and obtained a Juris Doctor in 1967.[3] After graduating, he was commissioned a Captain in the United States Army, and in 1969 was awarded both a Commendation Medal and Bronze Star for his meritorious service in the Vietnam War.

After Chin's discharge, he practiced for three years as a deputy district attorney for the Alameda County District Attorney's Office, and was promoted to felony trial deputy. In 1973, Chin entered private practice with Aiken, Kramer & Cummings, and focused on litigation.[4] He is well-known among California employment lawyers as one of the four current authors of the Rutter Group practice guide on employment litigation.[5]

In 1988, Chin was appointed as a Judge of the Alameda County Superior Court. Then, in August 1990, Governor George Deukmejian elevated Chin to the position of Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First District. On August 17, 1994, Governor Pete Wilson appointed Chin as the Presiding Justice of the Court of Appeal, First District, Division Three, beginning January 2, 1995. In November 1994, he was elected to a 12-year term.

On January 25, 1996, Governor Wilson appointed Chin as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court. Chin was confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and sworn in on March 1, 1996.[6][7][8] He was retained by the electorate in 1998[9] and 2010.[10][11] On December 16, 2014, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye named Chin to the California Judicial Council for a two-year term.[12]

In his first decade on the court, he authored the most majority opinions at the Supreme Court.[13] Among Chin's notable cases is his 2008 majority opinion in Silicon Valley Taxpayers' Assn., Inc. v. Santa Clara County Open Space Authority, a landmark California separation of powers case regarding Proposition 218.[14]

Civic activitiesEdit

Chin was elected president of the Alameda County Bar Association.[15] He served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the University of San Francisco.[2]

Honors and awardsEdit

Chin has received a series of honors from his alma mater. In 1988, he was selected as the USF Alumnus of the Year. In 1993, he was named USF Law School Alumnus of the Year. Finally, in 1996 USF Law School presented him with the St. Thomas More Award.[16]

Chin was also awarded honorary LL.D. degrees in 1996 by Southwestern Law School, in 2001 by California Western School of Law, and in 2002 by Pepperdine University School of Law.[17]

Personal lifeEdit

In 1971, Chin wed Carol Joe, a pharmacist, with whom he has two children: Jennifer (b. 1974) and Jason (b. 1976).[1] Chin is of Chinese descent.[18]


  1. ^ a b "Full Biography for Ming William Chin". Smart Voter '98. 3 November 1998. Retrieved 23 October 2012.
  2. ^ a b Ziajka, Alan; Elias, Robert (2015). University of San Francisco. San Francisco, CA: Arcadia Publishing. p. 118. ISBN 1439651183. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  3. ^ "Alumni Profiles: Ming Chin". University of San Francisco School of Law. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  4. ^ Hogarth, Marie-Anne (August 12, 2007). "Longtime Oakland firm joins with Wendel, Rosen Black & Dean". Oakland Business Journal. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  5. ^ "Employment Litigation (The Rutter Group California Practice Guide)". Thomson Reuters. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  6. ^ "Editorial-- Justice Ming W. Chin". San Francisco Chronicle. January 29, 1996. Retrieved June 8, 2017.
  7. ^ Dolan, Maura (March 2, 1997). "State High Court Justice Sworn In Amid Protests". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  8. ^ "California Courts: Courts: Supreme Court: Justices: Associate Justice Ming W. Chin". Judicial Council of California. December 2, 2006. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  9. ^ Statement of Vote, November 3, 1998, General Election (pdf) (Report). Secretary of State of California. 1998-12-12. Retrieved 2014-12-24.
  10. ^ Statement of Vote, November 2, 2010, General Election (pdf) (Report). Secretary of State of California. 2011-01-06. p. 16. Retrieved 2014-12-24.
  11. ^ "Nov. 2 Election Results". Trinity Journal. 10 November 2010. p. 7. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ "Chief Justice Appoints Justice Ming W. Chin to Judicial Council". California State Courts. December 16, 2014. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  13. ^ Mike McKee (May 2, 2006). "Profile of Justice Ming Chin". The Recorder. Retrieved September 21, 2017. In the decade prior to April 1, Uelmen notes, Chin, who's on the conservative wing of the bench, had authored 158 opinions for the California Supreme Court, 12 more than Chief Justice Ronald George, his closest competitor.
  14. ^ 44 Cal. 4th 431, 79 Cal. Rptr. 3d 312, 187 P. 3d 37 (2008).
  15. ^ "January 2016 Upcoming Programs and Events". Alameda County Bar Association. Retrieved September 21, 2017. former ACBA Board President and California Supreme Court Justice Ming Chin
  16. ^ "2016 St. Thomas More Award". St. Thomas More Society of San Francisco. Retrieved September 21, 2017. Past winners have included...Ming Chin
  17. ^ "Justice Ming Chin of the California Supreme Court to Speak at Southwestern Law School Commencement Ceremony". Southwestern Law School. March 23, 2016. Retrieved September 21, 2017. Southwestern awarded Justice Chin an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1996.
  18. ^ Caen, Herb (January 13, 1996). "Caennecting the Dots". San Francisco Gate. Retrieved June 8, 2017.

Selected publicationsEdit


External linksEdit

See alsoEdit

Legal offices
Preceded by
Armand Arabian
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
1996 – present
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Presiding Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First District, Division Three
1995 – 1996
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal, First District
1990 – 1995
Succeeded by