Paul Barragan-Monge in CalMatters urges Governor Gavin Newsom to replace newly retired Supreme Court Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar “with a Latina, which would be a long-overdue and necessary first.”

Barragan-Monge, who is the director of mobilization for the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, writes, “Much like it matters for citizens to see themselves reflected by their politicians or for students to have teachers who understand their cultural perspectives, trust and confidence in the judicial system is also strengthened by greater diversity and representation.”  He says that although Latinos make up almost 40 percent of California’s population, they comprise only about 10 percent of the state’s appellate justices and that “[t]he lack of representation is even worse for Latinas:  they represent only four of the 97 current appellate judges, and three out of six state appellate courts have no Latinas.”  Justice Cuéllar was the only Latino on the Supreme Court.

The column begins by noting Newsom’s “track record of historic gubernatorial appointments:  the first Black secretary of state, the first Latino U.S. senator and the first attorney general of Filipino descent.”  (Link added.)  He neglected to mention the appointment last year of the state’s first openly gay Supreme Court justice.