Governor Brown Selects Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar for California Supreme Court


SACRAMENTO – Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. today announced Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar as his choice for associate justice of the California Supreme Court.

Cuéllar, 41, of Stanford, has been a Stanford Law School professor since 2001 and was appointed Stanley Morrison Professor of Law in 2012. He has taught administrative law, criminal law and international law, among other subjects. Cuéllar has been director of Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies since 2013 and Professor of Political Science, by courtesy, at Stanford’s School of Humanities and Sciences since 2010. He served as co-director of Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from 2011 to 2013.

“Tino Cuéllar is a renowned scholar who has served two presidents and made significant contributions to both political science and the law,” said Governor Brown. “His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court.”

Cuéllar was born in Matamoros, Mexico and for a number of years walked across the border each day to attend school in neighboring Brownsville, Texas. At age 14, he moved with his family to the Imperial Valley of California, where he graduated from Calexico High School. Cuéllar went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts degree from Harvard College, a Juris Doctor degree from Yale Law School and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in political science from Stanford University.

Cuéllar served as special assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council in 2009 and 2010 and was co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition’s Immigration Policy Working Group in 2008 and 2009. He served as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit from 2000 to 2001 and as senior advisor to the Under Secretary for Enforcement at the U.S. Department of the Treasury from 1997 to 1999.

“I am enormously honored by Governor Brown’s nomination, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving the people of California on our state’s highest court,” said Cuéllar.

Cuéllar co-chaired the National Equity and Excellence Commission, created by Congress to advise the Secretary of Education on how to close the achievement gap in American public schools, from 2011 to 2013. He serves as a presidential appointee to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, an agency charged with improving the fairness and efficiency of federal administrative programs, and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Constitution Project, a national bipartisan organization devoted to advancing support for the U.S. Constitution. Cuéllar is a member of the American Law Institute Council and the American Constitution Society Board of Directors. Cuéllar is married to U.S. District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California. They have two children.

He will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Marvin R. Baxter on January 4, 2015. The compensation for this position is $225,342. Cuéllar is a Democrat.

The Governor’s nomination must be submitted to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The Commission on Judicial Appointments consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala D. Harris and senior presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal Joan Dempsey Klein. If confirmed by the Commission, the nominee will appear on the November 4th ballot for voter approval.