February 14, 2014

Daily Journal floats list of possible replacements for the retiring Justice Kennard

As we mentioned earlier this week, Justice Joyce Kennard is stepping down from the Court after 25 years of service.  In yesterday’s Daily Journal [subscription required], Emily Green floated a list of possible candidates to replace Justice Kennard.  The list is necessarily a series of educated guesses since, as Green notes, Governor Brown “keeps a famously tight circle of advisors, and unlike previous governors does not publicly announce his short list of candidates for the state Supreme Court.”  Green’s list is informed by the fact that the Court is dominated by Northern Californians and, perhaps more critically from a political perspective, includes no Latinos or African Americans despite the fact that those groups make up 37 percent and seven percent of the state’s population, respectively.

The following is Green’s list of possible replacements for Justice Kennard:

Thomas Saenz, President and General Counsel of the Mexican-American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF), headquartered in Los Angeles.  Green quotes Saenz as saying he would welcome the appointment of “ ‘someone with a deep understanding of the Latino community’s experience within the state.’ ”

Rachel F. Moran, dean of the UCLA School of Law.  Dean Moran is a Latina who, Green reports, has “written extensively on critical race theory.”

Justice Miguel Marquez, who was appointed by Governor Brown to the Sixth District Court of Appeal in 2012.  “At 45,” Green writes, Marquez “is reportedly the youngest judge on the state appellate court.”

Mariano-Florentino Cuellar, a professor at Stanford Law School.  Green notes that Cuellar is young, having graduated from Yale law school in 1997.  He has worked for President Obama as a special assistant for Justice and Regulatory Policy.

Justice James Humes, who was appointed by Brown to the First District Court of Appeal in 2012.  Green reports that Humes is the first openly gay judge on California’s appellate courts and, in the past, has been an advisor to the Governor.

U.S. District Judge Yvonne Gonzalez Rogers, who was appointed by President Obama to the Northern District of California in 2011.  Before that, she was in private practice in San Francisco.

Justice Jeffrey W. Johnson of the Second District Court of Appeal.  Johnson is African-American.  The Court has been without an African-American justice since Janice Rogers Brown stepped down in 2005 to take a seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit.

Other potential short-list candidates noted by Green—who were suggested as possible replacements for Justice Carlos Moreno when he retired in 2011—include: Justices Martin Jenkins and Maria P. Rivera of the First District Court of Appeal, Presiding Justice Dennis M. Perluss of the Second District Court of Appeal, Dean Kevin Johnson of UC Davis School of Law, and Christopher David Ruiz Cameron, a professor at Southwestern Law School.

UPDATE:  Check out this post from our friends at Southern California Appellate News.  We especially enjoyed the suggestion that any potential appointee would have to interview with California’s First Dog, Sutter Brown.

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