Gov. Jerry Brown’s High Court Choice Expected To Move Panel Leftward


Publish Date:
July 22, 2014
  • Dolan, Maura
Los Angeles Times
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Professors Jenny Martinez, Hank Greely and David Engstrom comment on Professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar’s nomination to the California Supreme Court forĀ The Los Angeles Times.

Gov. Jerry Brown’s choice of Stanford law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuellar for the California Supreme Court is likely to move the moderately conservative court leftward and result in more path-breaking rulings, legal analysts said Tuesday..

UC Davis Law School Dean Kevin Johnson said Cuellar is particularly interested in criminal justice, including search and seizure and sentencing, and understands the discriminatory effect of some criminal laws.

Stanford law professor Jenny Martinez described Cuellar as “a people person” beloved by colleagues and students.

“He is very outgoing,” she said. “He loves to talk about the law and ideas. He is just a very sort of gregarious, nice person.”

Although Cuellar’s resume seems more suited to federal law than state law, Martinez said Cuellar has taught criminal law, mostly a state-law subject, and has “a very broad mind.” She said she expected he would be a bridge-builder on the court.

“He is the kind of guy who is interested in a huge range of things and sees connections between them,” she said.

“He has boundless energy, and he has this incredibly broad intellect and deep understanding of law and policy,” said Stanford law professor David Engstrom. “I think of him as an institutional linchpin and a connector of people.”

On a personal level, Cuellar has a genuine, effusive warmth that some people mistake as insincere, Greely said. “But it is not phony,” he said. “He is a very warm, likable person who happens to be brilliant.”

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