In July, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Stanford Professor Mariano Florentino Cuéllar to the California Supreme Court to replace Justice Marvin R. Baxter, who is retiring. If confirmed, Cuéllar would start as an associate justice on January 4, 2015. Cuéllar, who is a Democrat, was born in Matamoros, Mexico. During his childhood, he crossed the U.S.-Mexico border on foot to attend school in Texas; at the age of 14, he moved with his family to California’s Imperial Valley. He went on to receive a bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, his juris doctor from Yale Law School, and a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford University.
Cuéllar focuses his research and teaching on administrative law and governance, public organizations, and transnational security. He has written on issues such as administrative law and national security, including two books, Administrative Law: The American Public Law System and Governing Security: The Hidden Origins of American Security Agencies. He has been extensively involved in public service, notably, serving as Special Assistant for Justice and Regulatory Policy for the Obama administration during 2009-2010 and as Co-Chair for Obama-Biden Transition’s Immigration Policy Working Group in 2008 and 2009. During the President Clinton’s second term, he served as Senior Advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.
Cuéllar is married to Judge Lucy H. Koh of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of California. After a state bar evaluation committee review, Cuéllar will go before a judicial appointments commission for confirmation, and his name will appear on the November ballot for California residents to cast their vote. Governor Brown also has another vacancy to fill, which was left by Justice Joyce L. Kennard when she retired this past April.