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Stanford's Cuéllar Brings Policy Chops To High Court

Publication Date: 
July 22, 2014
The Recorder
Scott Graham

The Recorder reports on Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar's nomination to the California Supreme Court by Governor Jerry Brown. 

Under political pressure to appoint a Latino to the California Supreme Court, Gov. Jerry Brown delivered Tuesday, nominating Stanford scholar Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, a native of a Mexican border town who has grappled with immigration policy in senior posts of the U.S. government.

Cuéllar, 41, is the director of a Stanford University research center on cross-border issues and advised President Barack Obama on immigration before and after his 2008 election. He's the second consecutive Brown high court appointee from academia, following Justice Goodwin Liu from Berkeley Law—and the third in a row with a J.D. from Brown's law school alma mater, Yale, going back to Joseph Grodin from Brown's first gubernatorial administration.


"I am enormously honored by Governor Brown's nomination, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving the people of California on our state's highest court," Cuéllar said in his own statement.

David Carrillo, director of Berkeley Law's California Constitution Center, said the choice of Cuéllar is interesting for three reasons: It gives the court "another academic powerhouse justice in the tradition of Traynor, Newman, and Liu." It restores representation of the state's 39 percent Hispanic population—there hasn't been a Latino on the high court since Justice Carlos Moreno retired three years ago.

"And the Berkeley-Stanford rivalry of appointments to the court continues—with Berkeley ahead 13 to 10."