Panel approves historic nomination for California Supreme Court chief justice

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Guerrero was nominated to be the new chief justice earlier this month. The court’s current chief justice, Tani Cantil-Sakauye, intends to retire when her term ends in January. As a member of the state’s Commission on Judicial Appointments, Cantil-Sakauye cast one of the votes approving Guerrero’s nomination. “Gov. Newsom has made an inspired choice,” she said.

”The Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, a body that reviews judicial candidates, had found Guerrero to be ‘exceptionally well qualified’ to take over as chief, which means it determined she ‘possesses qualities and attributes of remarkable or extraordinary superiority that enable her to perform the appellate judicial function with distinction,’” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The glowing review follows another unanimous vote from this past March that confirmed her as the first Latina associate justice of the court. 

“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 at that time. Fourth Appellate District Presiding Justice Manuel Ramirez during this most recent hearing read a passage that’s inscribed at Garfield High School in Los Angeles, Courthouse News Service said. Ramirez is a member of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

“I ask the fathers and the mothers who love their children, who prize the freedom of American opportunity, to strike at this idea that only the rich and only the powerful, the sons and daughters of the great, can serve the state,” he read. “It is true now, and I believe it will be true hereafter, that the humblest son and the humblest daughter of the humblest citizen, born in the humblest surroundings, can lift his eyes toward the star of hope.”

Reports have previously noted that both Guerrero and Cantil-Sakauye come from farmworker families. The Associated Press had reported that Guerrero’s father wore cowboy boots to her March hearing “and beamed from the front row of the courtroom along with Guerrero’s husband and one of their two sons.”

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