Calif. High Court Next for Former Obama Adviser 'Tino' Cuellar?

A Stanford University law professor, who as a child crossed the border from his Mexican home to attend school in Texas and went on to serve two U.S. presidents, has made history by being tapped to serve on California’s Supreme Court.

California Gov. Jerry Brown nominated Mariano-Florentino Cuellar Tuesday to fill the position vacated by conservative Justice Marvin Baxter, the Los Angeles Times reported. Cuellar, 41, teaches administrative law at Stanford University and has never served on the bench. He is no stranger to government, however. Cuellar is an Obama appointee to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States, which monitors fairness and efficiency of federal regulatory programs and served as a special assistant to the president. He was part of his transition team on immigration policy. The Harvard- and Yale- and Stanford-educated professor previously served under President Bill Clinton at the U.S. Treasury Department.

Brown previously considered Cuellar for another Supreme Court post, but instead chose to nominate Goodwin Liu, which was met with derision from some Latino bar leaders, according to the Los Angeles Times. Cuellar was born in Mexico, but moved to California’s Imperial Valley with his family at the age of 14. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) applauded Brown’s choice, saying, “It is vital that the state’s highest court reflect the full diversity of its residents.” If confirmed, Cuellar will be the only Latino serving on the California Supreme Court.


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