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Thomas A. Saenz: Brown considers an activist for state Supreme Court appointment

Publication Date: 
February 14, 2011
Los Angeles Times
Maura Dolan

Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar is mentioned briefly in the following article discussing the individuals that Gov. Jerry Brown has considered for the California Supreme Court. Maura Dolan of the Los Angeles Times reports:

Thomas A. Saenz, a nationally known Latino civil rights lawyer who led the fight against Proposition 187, the 1994 measure that would have barred illegal immigrants from public services, is among the top candidates Gov. Jerry Brown is considering for the California Supreme Court, according to judges and law professors who have been consulted about the selection.

Brown has yet to interview any of the candidates, and an appointment is not believed to be imminent. But sources familiar with the vetting process said the search has narrowed to several candidates, including Saenz, president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund.

Other Latinos under consideration include Southwestern Law School professor Christopher David Ruiz Cameron, who has labor backing; Stanford Law School professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar; and state Court of Appeal Justice Maria P. Rivera.


Saenz, 44, who was one of L.A. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's top advisors, is regarded as a brilliant legal thinker by critics and admirers alike. He is quiet, serious and self-effacing and is said to possess strong diplomatic and public speaking skills.


Stanford's Cuéllar, who has served in both the Obama and Clinton administrations, is viewed as an expert in policy, including government regulation. He graduated from Calexico High School, obtained an undergraduate degree from Harvard, a law degree from Yale and a doctorate in political science from Stanford. He clerked for 9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary M. Schroeder.