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Newsom names Latina to State Supreme Court

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Flickr / Creative Commons
The interior of the California Supreme Court

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday nominated Guerrero, 50, to be chief justice of the California Supreme Court. Already the high court's first Latina after her March swearing-in, Guerrero would also be the court's first Latina chief justice.

A former lawyer in private practice, Guerrero was also a federal prosecutor before she became a judge in San Diego County Superior Court and, in 2017, became an appellate judge in California's Fourth District Court of Appeal. She grew up in the Imperial Valley, and her parents were immigrants from Mexico, and graduated from Stanford Law School.

Newsom called her "a widely respected jurist with a formidable intellect and command of the law." A colleague at her Fourth District confirmation hearing in 2017 recalled how she finished a brief on her way to give birth to her son, and coordinated filing the brief hours later.

Juan Esparza Loera, editor of the Fresno Spanish-language newspaper Vida en el Valle, said he was surprised by Guerrero's nomination to chief justice so soon after she was sworn in. But he's happy he gets to write about another "first-in-history."

The numbers in 2022 remain grim for Latinos overall in California's judiciary. More than 62 percent of all trial court judges are white, as are more than 70 percent of appellate court judges.

Latinos, by contrast, make up just 12 percent of trial court judges and seven percent of judges in the appellate court, though they make up 39 percent of the state.