STANFORD, Calif., August 29, 2014 – Stanford Law School’s Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar won unanimous confirmation Thursday to the California Supreme Court during an hour-long hearing before the state Commission on Judicial Appointments. Cuéllar, known as “Tino” among colleagues, is the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and director of the university’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.
Prior to the hearing, Cuéllar received the highest rating possible from a state bar commission charged with evaluating him.
“Our system rightly calls for judges to leave behind all policy preferences and all partisan goals,”Cuéllar said during the hearing. “To my mind, judges must be humble yet decisive, committed to integrity, and impartial and fair in every single case. If I am fortunate enough to serve on this court, each day will find me working to honor these ideals and earn the public’s trust.”
Jeff Bleich and Danielle Gray, two lawyers who worked with Cuéllar in the Obama administration, along with former Stanford Law School dean Larry Kramer, spoke on behalf of Cuéllar at the hearing praising his scholarship and character and noting the breadth and depth of his experience. Kramer quipped, “I’ve often joked that there are two or three of him out there because there’s no other way to explain the amount of things he gets done.”
“Professor Cuéllar’s experience, skill, wisdom and compassion will make him a distinguished member of the California Supreme Court,” said M. Elizabeth Magill, Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law at Stanford Law School, who attended the hearing. “We have been honored to call him a member of our faculty and are extremely proud that he will be serving the people of California on the bench.”
If approved by voters on the November ballot for a 12-year term, Cuéllar, a Democrat, will assume office in January and will be the first Latino immigrant and the only Latino on the court. He would replace conservative Justice Marvin R. Baxter and, along with another judge yet to be appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown, could continue to give the governor an opportunity to shape the court.
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Prior to joining the faculty at Stanford Law School, Cuéllar served on the Obama-Biden transition team on immigration policy and as a special assistant to President Obama on justice and regulatory matters for the White House Domestic Policy Council. In that role, he worked on a wide range of issues that included funding for drug treatment, responding to crises such as the BP oil crisis, administrative efforts to close the gender gap and the U.S. Defense Department’s repeal of its “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
Cuéllar also worked in the Clinton administration as Senior Advisor to the Treasury Department Under Secretary for Enforcement, providing counsel on issues including money laundering and firearms policies, and clerked for 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Mary Schroeder.
About Stanford Law School
Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education. Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business, and high technology. Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective, and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.