On Tuesday, Governor Jerry Brown nominated Mexican-born Mariano-Florention Cuéllar (nicknamed Tino) to replace one of California’s most conservative Supreme Court Justices, Marvin H. Baxter. Brown’s Democratic nomination will move California’s Supreme Court further to the left.
Cuéllar, 41, is currently a law and political science professor at Stanford University, where he earned a doctorate in political science in 2000. His area of specialization at Stanford is immigration and administrative law. He previously served as an adviser to President Barack Obama on immigration policy, according to the Sacramento Bee, and has written extensively on the matter.
“His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court,” said Governor Brown of his choice candidate. Cuéllar has also studied education funding and school standards, two significant concerns of Brown’s, notes the Bee. Read more here.
Assemblyman Luis Alejo (D-Watsonville) said, “Mr. Cuéllar’s nomination will also add to the diversity of the Supreme Court, which should reflect the diversity of our state, including its vast Latino population.” Born in Matamoros, Mexico in 1972, Tino Cuéllar reportedly attained his U.S. citizenship as soon as he was eligible in 1994, at the age of 14.
In 2008 and 2009, Cuéllar co-chaired the Obama transition team’s immigration policy. He also worked in the Clinton administration’s U.S. Treasury Department from 1997 to 1999, notes the Bee. He attained his undergraduate degree from Harvard College and a law degree from Yale University. His academic achievements were released by the Governor’s office.
If confirmed, Cuéllar will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for voter approval and, following the election, would become eligible to serve a 12-year term. “When he does appear on the November ballot, the only issues are going to be his qualifications, which are stellar,” said Santa Clara University law professor Gerald Uelmen of Cuéllar. He also referred to him as a “brilliant scholar.”
The Supreme Court position Cuéllar would be occupying, when it is vacated by Baxter in January of 2015, currently pays $225,342 a year, reports the Bee. Cuéllar is married to U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California. Koh, who also attended Harvard College as well as completing law school there, was appointed by President Obama in 2010. The couple have two children.