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Photo: Commission on Judicial Appointments Flickr
Photo: Commission on Judicial Appointments Flickr

Justice Patricia Guerrero confirmed as first Latina on CA Supreme Court

On Tuesday, March 22, Patricia Guerrero, a San Diego appeals court judge, was confirmed as the first Latina to serve on the California Supreme Court.

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On Tuesday, March 22, Patricia Guerrero, a San Diego appeals court judge, was confirmed as the first Latina to serve on the California Supreme Court.

Guerrero was approved with a 3-0 vote from the Commission on Judicial Appointments to fill the vacancy left by Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar.

Cuéllar stepped down last year to become president of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace.

California Gov. Newsom prioritized diversity on the bench. In 2020, he nominated the first openly gay justice, Martin Jenkins, who is also the third Black person to serve on the court.

Guerrero is the daughter of Mexican immigrants. Her grandfather came to the U.S from Sonora and obtained residency through a sponsor.

When her father, Jorge Guerrero, arrived in California, he picked crops and later worked in the agricultural industry. 

“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 just like us,” Guerrero said. 

When Jorge arrived at his daughter’s confirmation hearing on Tuesday, he was sporting cowboy boots and sat in the front row with pride, alongside Guerrero’s husband and one of their two sons.

Guerrero, who recently lost her mother to breast cancer, hoped that her success would be a tribute to her. Her mother, who worked as a babysitter, always stressed the importance of education and made sure her children knew that their potential is boundless. 

“She showed us the importance of family. She showed us to thank God for our blessings. And she showed us that we should help other people when we can. She sacrificed everything for us,” Guerrero said. 

50-year-old Guerrero grew up in the agricultural Imperial Valley and has experience working as a prosecutor, as a law firm partner and a Superior Court judge. 

She graduated from the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School, and she paid for her education through scholarships and by working part-time. 

Guerrero was applauded by colleagues and panelists including Attorney General Rob Bonta and Supreme Court Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye. 

“Justice Guerrero is phenomenal on multiple levels. She is universally labeled for her superior intellect, clear writing, judicial temperament, work ethic and compassion,” said Stella Nagi, chair of the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation. 

California will now join Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New York and Texas in having Latina justices on their high courts.

“Congratulations to Judge Patricia Guerrero for becoming the first Latina on the California Supreme Court! Representation matters: Judge Guerrero made history for Latinas in California and paved the way for future generations of Latina justices,” Latino Victory wrote on Twitter. 


 

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