California Supreme Court Justice Patricia Guerrero was confirmed Friday to serve as the court’s next chief justice after being praised by fellow judges and other legal peers at a hearing as uniquely qualified to lead the state’s Department of Justice.
The confirmation means Guerrero will appear on the ballots nationwide in November and, if voters confirm, will take office as the court’s first Latina chief justice in January.
“I’m honored to live in a state where a little girl who grew up in the Imperial Valley and was raised by Mexican immigrant parents could grow up, follow her dreams and become the first Latina Deputy Justice on the California Supreme Court. ‘ she said in brief comments after her confirmation. “Until now there has never been a Latino or Latina who serves as Chief Justice. I’m proud to be first and looking forward to second, third and fourth.”
Guerrero was nominated for the chief position by Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier this month after current Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye announced she would not seek a second term. Lawyers consider Guerrero to be a moderate, ideologically easy to assign to the center left.
On Friday, Cantil-Sakauye voted to confirm Guerrero’s appointment to replace her. So did the other two members of the State Commission for Judicial Appointments: Atty. Gen. Rob Bonta and California Circuit Chief Justice Manuel Ramirez.
Calling the confirmation “preordained” and the hearing “joyful,” Cantil-Sakauye hailed Guerrero as qualified not only to lead the court but to serve as chief administrator of the judiciary.
“Reg. Newsom made a brilliant choice,” said Cantil-Sakauye.
The Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, a body that reviews nominees for judges, had found Guerrero to be “exceptionally well qualified” to serve as chief, meaning it found that she had “qualities and characteristics of notable or possesses exceptional superiority enabling her to perform the appellate function with distinction.”
Speakers at Friday’s hearing, including a former Guerrero legal partner and colleague Martin Jenkins, also praised Guerrero and largely focused on her leadership experience.
David L. Mulliken, a retired partner at Guerrero’s former law firm Latham & Watkins, said the firm identified Guerrero early on as a “megastar” with skills as both an attorney and a manager, putting her in the “fast lane.” Leadership roles – which she even took on as an employee.
“She had a great, great talent for all aspects of effective management. She has effectively managed large teams in a collaborative and collegial manner,” said Mulliken. “She was a consensus builder, she was compulsively organized, and she was a very, very effective and energetic advocate for her positions — which might be surprising to people who see her as a kind, soft-spoken, humorous person. ”
Jenkins called Guerrero a “consummate and effective attorney” with “a first-rate legal mind that enables her to solve complex legal issues without sacrificing efficiency.”
He also called her “a gifted and talented and fluent writer, but extremely careful,” and said “her work ethic is just second to none.”
Guerrero, 50, will be the only official candidate listed for the boss’s position in November’s election.
As chief justice, Guerrero would continue to serve as one of seven judges deciding cases. She would also be the court’s administrative director and chair of the California Judicial Council, which sets administrative policy for all state courts.
Newsom appointed Guerrero as an associate judge in February, and she was confirmed in March.
Prior to that, Guerrero served at the California 4th Circuit Court of Appeals, handling cases in San Diego and the Imperial Valley. She attended UC Berkeley and Stanford Law School and served as a federal prosecutor and judge of the Superior Court in San Diego.
Guerrero lives in Coronado, is married and has two teenage sons. The commission that reviewed her noted in its report that her hobbies are “swimming, golfing, horseback riding, and snowboarding.”
The judge said she had “very big shoes to fill” to replace Cantil-Sakauye and will approach the job with humility, relying on her fellow judges and others in the judiciary to help her learn the ropes.
“I come in with realistic expectations knowing that I have my work ahead of me and I also know that I will give 100% plus,” she said.
Guerrero also thanked Newsom’s team for ensuring the judiciary includes judges from “a rich diversity of backgrounds and experiences” — including Alameda County Superior Court Justice Kelli Evans, who Newsom told he will Appoint Guerrero’s associate judge seat when it becomes vacant in January.
Guerrero said Evans, who is black and would be the court’s first openly lesbian judge, agreed with her that the state Supreme Court is “an amazing group of talented, dedicated judges who care deeply about the rule of law and the public.” to serve”.
https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-08-26/guerrero-deemed-exceptionally-well-qualified-as-panel-weighs-chief-justice-nomination Patricia Guerrero confirmed as California’s next chief justice, will go before voters