Justice Patricia Guerrero was unanimously approved to fill a vacancy on the Supreme Court of California this week.
She will be the first Latina to serve on the state’s highest court.
The Commission on Judicial Appointments approved Justice Guerrero in a 3-0 vote, Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, who chairs the commission, said Tuesday.
Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to swear her in on March 28. Justice Guerrero replaces Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who stepped down in October 2021 to run the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.
Justice Guerrero has served as an associate justice for a San Diego appeals court since 2017. Prior to her time on the California Fourth District Court of Appeal, Justice Guerrero served as a judge for the San Diego County Superior Court and was a supervising judge for the court’s family law division.
She is a former partner at Latham & Watkins and has served as an assistant U.S. attorney for the Southern District of California.
A report from the State Bar of California’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation said Justice Guerrero is “exceptionally well qualified for service on the California Supreme Court.”
“Justice Guerrero is phenomenal on multiple levels. She is held in the highest esteem by other judges, practitioners and court staff. She is an inspirational role model,” Stella Ngai, chair of the Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, said in a letter.
“She is universally lauded for her superior intellect, clear writing, judicial temperament, work ethic and compassion,” Chair Ngai continued. “Justice Guerrero is also praised by other bench officers for her collegiality.”
Justice Guerrero was raised in the Imperial Valley by parents who immigrated from Mexico. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School where she was active in the Latino Law Students Association.
Her father, sister, husband and oldest son were able to attend the hearing before the Commission on Judicial Appointments.
“As I’ve tried to express, this is not just about me, or really even just about my parents, but it’s about so many others like us,” Justice Guerrero said, according to The Associated Press. “This is a story of the American dream, the belief that with hard work, perseverance and opportunities, anything is possible. And for that I am thankful.”
Justice Guerrero has served as a member of the advisory board of the Immigration Justice Project and has helped clients on a pro bono basis in various immigration matters. She was named to the Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the California Bar Exam and has helped Chief Cantil-Sakauye’s “Judges in the Classroom” civil project.
According to The AP, she will receive a salary of $274,000.