Tanya Acker serves as one of three judges on CBS Television Distribution’s syndicated court show HOT BENCH, created by Judge Judy Sheindlin. The program returned for its sixth season September 9, 2019. During the 2018-2019 season, HOT BENCH was the #3 first-run program in daytime television, delivering 3.1 million daily viewers. Acker is also host of “The Tanya Acker Show” podcast.
An experienced civil litigator who has represented a wide array of clients, Acker has been a featured commentator on “Good Morning America,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Wendy Williams,” “The Talk,” “Inside Edition,” “The O’Reilly Factor,” “Larry King Live,” “CNN Reports,” “Anderson Cooper 360,” “Issues with Jane Velez Mitchell,” “Extra,” “Your World With Neil Cavuto, ””HLN’s Special Report,” “CNBC Reports,” Great Britain’s “GMTV” and Sky News, and various other broadcasts. She also guest co-hosted CNBC’s “Power Lunch,” and “C Magazine” included her in an election season profile on noteworthy California women in politics. Acker also has contributed to the Huffington Post and served as a Temporary Judge in the Los Angeles County Superior Court Temporary Judge Program.
While a student at Yale Law School, Acker represented low-income women in family law cases and served as a teaching assistant in Constitutional Law and Civil Procedure courses. She also worked at the Office of White House Counsel, the Civil Rights Division in the United States Department of Justice and the private law firms Irell & Manella, O’Melveny & Myers and Williams & Connolly. At Williams & Connolly, she assisted President Clinton’s personal lawyers with press interviews, worked on the preparation of Congressional testimony for pending product liability legislation and researched First Amendment issues.
After graduating from Yale, Acker served as a judicial law clerk to the Honorable Dorothy Wright Nelson on the Ninth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
After her clerkship, the Office of the Solicitor General in the U.S. Department of Justice awarded Acker a Bristow Fellowship. While working as a Bristow Fellow, Acker drafted Supreme Court briefs and helped prepare the Solicitor General for oral argument before the High Court. Among the cases on which Acker worked was Clinton v Jones, where she assisted both the Solicitor General and President Clinton’s personal attorneys in preparing for oral argument.
In private practice, Acker’s legal work spanned a broad variety of matters, from civil litigation involving public and private entities, to various constitutional cases, to providing constitutional cases, to the provision of business counseling and advice. She also maintained a commitment to pro bono work, receiving the ACLU’s First Amendment Award for her successful representation of a group of homeless individuals against the City of Santa Barbara. Acker later worked in entertainment industry outreach for the Kerry/Edwards presidential campaign and as Deputy Campaign Manager for the Los Angeles mayoral campaign of City Councilman Bernard C. Parks. After that, she worked as the General Counsel of a company that manufactured emissions control products.
Acker received her B.A. degree at Howard University in 1992, where she graduated summa cum laude and was a member of Phi Beta Kappa. She was awarded a Luard Scholarship for study at St. Anne’s College at Oxford University and served there as the co-editor-in-chief of the Oxford University Women’s Magazine. At Yale Law School, she was awarded an Earl Warren Scholarship by the NAACP and a Coker Fellowship by the Yale faculty.
Acker maintains an active involvement in various philanthropic, civic and business organizations. A volunteer with Love Takes Root, she has traveled to Haiti to work in a clinic and orphanage founded by that organization. She is a member of the Beverly Hills West (CA) chapter of The Links, Incorporated and additionally serves on the boards of Public Counsel; the Western Justice Center; Rainbow Services; the Boy Scouts of America (the National Executive, Western Regional, and Western Los Angeles County Council Boards); PacWest Bancorp; and as trustee of the Pacific Battleship Center, which operates the Battleship USS Iowa Museum.
What does defunding the police mean for communities that need them the most? Judge Tanya Acker from HotBench gives her opinion.
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