Voter's Edge California Voter Guide
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Tuesday November 8, 2022 — California General Election
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San Diego County Superior CourtCandidate for Judge, Office 35

Photo of Rebecca Kanter

Rebecca Kanter

Assistant U.S. Attorney
459,024 votes (44%)Winning
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My Top 3 Priorities

  • To fairly and impartially administer justice and promote the rule of law
  • To uphold the Constitution and maintain the judiciary’s role as a defender of democratic values
  • To increase access to justice



Profession:Assistant U.S. Attorney
Assistant U.S. Attorney, U.S. Attorney's Office, Southern District of California (2006–current)
Volunteer Judge Pro Tem, San Diego Superior Court — Appointed position (2022–current)
Associate, O'Melveny & Myers LLP (2004–2006)
Law Clerk, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (2003–2004)


UCLA School of Law JD, Law (2003)
UC Irvine BA, Political Science (2000)

Community Activities

President and Board Member, San Diego Federal Daycare Board of Directors (2021–current)
Vice President, Secretary and Board Member, Lawyers Club of San Diego (2015–2018)
President and Board Member, WiLDCOAST (2011–2016)
Lawyer Representative, Southern District of California District Court (2012–2015)
Board Member, San Diego Leadership Alliance/New Leadership Council (2011–2013)


Rebecca Kanter is an Assistant United States Attorney who prosecutes crimes that impact our communities, neighborhoods, and families. From internet crimes against children and human trafficking to international corruption and embezzlement, Rebecca has spent 15 years seeking justice for crime victims. She has also served as the Civil Rights Coordinator and Ethics Advisor for the U.S. Attorney’s Office.

After graduating from UCLA School of Law, Rebecca served as a judicial law clerk in the Central District of California and then as an associate at the global law firm O’Melveny & Myers LLP. Rebecca teaches as an Adjunct at USD School of Law and previously taught in the UCLA Women’s Studies Program.

Rebecca is not just a public servant but also a dedicated community volunteer. She is a leader in the legal community, serving on the Board of Directors for the San Diego County Bar Association and Lawyers Club of San Diego, San Diego County’s two largest lawyer membership organizations. 

In addition to her leadership as an attorney, Rebecca works hard to serve her community. Rebecca is the President of the San Diego Federal Daycare Board of Directors, a nonprofit dedicated to ensuring quality, affordable childcare for military and federal families. She was also the President of WiLDCOAST an environmental organization that conserves coastal and marine ecosystems. Rebecca was a founding Board member of the San Diego Leadership Alliance and served her alma mater on the Executive Committee of the UC Irvine Alumni Association. 

Who supports this candidate?

Elected Officials (53)

Individuals (22)

Questions & Answers

Questions from Source: League of Women Voters of San Diego and League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

Do you label yourself "tough on crime" and, if so, what does that mean to you? Should convicted criminals always get the maximum sentence? Should a judge always go along with the sentence requested by a prosecutor?
Answer from Rebecca Kanter:

I think slogans like “tough on crime” and “smart on crime” as used by politicians are typically not appropriate in judicial campaigns because of the ethical restrictions that bind judicial candidates. Judicial candidates are not supposed to take issue or policy positions pursuant to Canon 5B of the California Code of Judicial Ethics, which provides: “(1) A candidate for judicial office or an applicant seeking appointment to judicial office shall not: (a) make statements to the electorate or the appointing authority that commit the candidate or the applicant with the respect to cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the courts…” Taking a position such as “a criminal should always get a maximum sentence” or “a judge should always go along with the sentence requested by a prosecutor” would be committing to a position on an issue or controversy that is likely to come before the courts.

As a prosecutor for most of my career, I have used the tools and resources of the criminal justice system to attempt to protect the community and support victims of crimes. But even as a prosecutor, pursuing the maximum sentence is not always in the interests of justice depending on the facts of the case. In an adversarial and constitutional system such as ours, it would be a dereliction of duty for a judge to commit to only favoring one side in any category of cases, whether criminal or civil.

Questions from League of Women Voters of San Diego and League of Women Voters of North County San Diego (1)

Would you say that the San Diego County Bar Association's judicial evaluation of you is a fair and accurate assessment of your qualifications? If not, which aspects of your experience may have been overlooked or undervalued?
Answer from Rebecca Kanter:

I am proud to be rated Well Qualified by the San Diego County Bar Association's judicial evaluation. 

Political Beliefs

Political Philosophy

My aspirations to be a judge took root when I was a teenager and read “The Courage of Their Convictions: Sixteen Americans Who Fought Their Way to the Supreme Court” by UCSD Professor Peter Irons. Each chapter in the book traces the history of a different Supreme Court case told in two parts – first, tracing the legal issues, procedure and attorneys’ strategies, and second, from the perspective of the individual whose rights or interests were at stake. That is when I first learned about housing discrimination and racially restrictive covenants in Shelly v. Kraemer and the internment of Japanese citizens at the center of Hirabayashi v. United States


Professor Irons’ stories made me appreciate the real-world impact that the law, lawyers, and judges have on shaping, for better or worse, the lives of everyday people. The case studies highlighted the impactful role of judges in giving life and meaning to the hallmarks of our democracy: fairness, justice, and equality. As a prosecutor, I have sought to keep these principles in mind in my public service. These cornerstone principles would also be the guideposts of my judicial philosophy. Always remembering the humanity of all individuals appearing in court and mindful that people’s lives, liberty and wellbeing are impacted every day by the decisions judges make will be central to my conduct and decision-making as a judge.

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