Patricia Guerrero Becomes First Latina Judge in California’s State Supreme Court

Update 3/22/2022: Justice Patricia Guerrero was confirmed on Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Justice Patricia Guerrero

Photo: Fourth District Court of Appeal

Update 3/22/2022: Justice Patricia Guerrero was confirmed on Tuesday, March 22, 2022.

“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. “This is a story of the American dream, the belief that with hard work, perseverance and opportunities, anything is possible. And for that I am thankful.”

We celebrated Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor become the first Latina judge of the U.S. Supreme Court in 2009 and now we might get to celebrate the first Latina judge for California’s Supreme Court.  California Gov. Gavin Newsom announced Tuesday that he’s nominating Patricia Guerrero, a justice for the California 4th District Court of Appeal, for California’s Supreme Court. Guerrero, 50, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants and a native of the Imperial Valley in Southern California. She attended the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctor degree. She was active in the Latino Law Students Association and helped students at the recruitment and retention center. Guerrero previously did pro bono work, including as a member of the Advisory Board of the Immigration Justice Project. She assisted clients on a pro bono basis including asylum applications and protecting families in need by litigating compliance with fair housing laws. If she’s confirmed, she’ll become the first Latina to serve in California’s Supreme Court.

“I am deeply honored by this incredible opportunity to uphold the rule of law and make a positive impact on the lives of Californians across the state,” Guerrero said in a press release. “If confirmed, I look forward to helping instill confidence in the equality and integrity of our judicial system while honoring the sacrifices of my immigrant parents and demonstrating to young people that anything is possible in our wonderful and diverse country.”

She served as a judge at the San Diego County Superior Court from 2013 to 2017 later serving as a supervising judge for the court’s family law division. She is considered a widely respected jurist with extensive experience as an appellate justice, trial court judge, partner at a major law firm and assistant U.S. attorney, according to Newsom’s office. She’s set to replace Associate Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, who left the bench effective Oct. 31.

“With her extensive experience handling complex litigation matters, intellectual rigor and commitment to fairness and equality, Justice Guerrero is well-equipped to navigate the most complex legal issues in our court system and will make an excellent addition to our state’s highest court. A historic move toward creating a more inclusive judiciary that represents all Californians, Justice Guerrero would be our state’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice. Brought up in the Imperial Valley by immigrants from Mexico, she would also help add important geographical balance to the court. I applaud Governor Newsom for his insightful nomination of this exceptional candidate,” retired California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno said in a press release.

The Governor’s nomination must be submitted to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation and confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

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