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Judge Confirmed as 1st Latina on California Supreme Court – GV Wire

A San Diego appeals court judge, the daughter of Mexican immigrants, was confirmed Tuesday as the first Latina to serve on the California Supreme Court.

Judge Patricia Guerrero was approved by a 3-0 vote of the Judicial Appointments Commission to fill the vacancy left by Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who resigned last year.

Guerrero, 50, grew up in the Imperial Agricultural Valley and has worked as a prosecutor, partner in a law firm and Superior Court judge and serves on the state Court of Appeals for the 4th District. She will be sworn in Monday by Governor Gavin Newsom, who nominated her.

State Bar: ‘Exceptionally qualified’

Guerrero, who was praised by her colleagues and members of the panel that included Attorney General Rob Bonta and Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, said she was touched by the historic significance of her elevation. at the court.

She said she stood on the shoulders of her grandparents and parents who immigrated from Mexico to give their children a better life.

“As I’ve tried to put it, it’s not just about me, or even my parents, but about so many others like us,” Guerrero said. “This is the story of the American dream, the belief that with hard work, persistence and opportunity, anything is possible. And for that, I am grateful.

Guerrero was confirmed after a friendly hearing in San Francisco Supreme Court without opposition. Cantil-Sakauye indicated it would be smooth sailing for Guerrero as she opened the hearing saying it was a joyous occasion.

Supporters praised the breadth of Guerrero’s career, his legal writings, and his ability to find consensus with other judges.

The State Bar Commission on Evaluating Judicial Candidates deemed her exceptionally qualified for the highest court in the state.

“Judge Guerrero is phenomenal on so many levels,” said commission chair Stella Ngai. “She is universally praised for her superior intelligence, clear writing, judicial temperament, work ethic and compassion.”

Guerrero will replace Cuéllar, who resigned to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Cuéllar was appointed to the court by Newsom’s predecessor, Governor Jerry Brown, also a Democrat.

Newsom’s focus on court diversity

Five of the seven members of the tribunal were nominated by Democrats and two by Republicans.

Newsom has made diversity on the bench a priority. In 2020, he appointed the first openly gay judge, Martin Jenkins, who is the third black person to serve on the court.

Guerrero’s grandfather came to the United States from the Mexican state of Sonora and obtained residency through a sponsor.

When his father, Jorge Guerrero, arrived in California, he picked crops and then worked in feedlots. He wore cowboy boots to the hearing and beamed from the front row of the courtroom with Guerrero’s husband and one of their two sons. His sister and several other family members sat behind them.

Guerrero said she hopes her nomination will serve as a tribute to her mother, a babysitter who recently died of breast cancer and who stressed the importance of education and told her children that he n There was no limit to what they could accomplish.

Graduated from UC Berkeley, Stanford Law

Guerrero choked up on her mother, saying she waited until his remarks were over because she didn’t think she could get through them if she talked about it sooner.

“She taught us to be strong, compassionate and independent,” she said. “She showed us the importance of family. She taught us to thank God for our blessings. And she showed us that we should help others when we can. She sacrificed everything for us.

Guerrero is a graduate of the University of California at Berkeley and Stanford Law School. She financed her studies through scholarships and by working part-time.

California will now join Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New York and Texas in having Latino judges in their high courts.

Guerrero will receive a salary of $274,000.