California Gov. Gavin Newsom has nominated current state Supreme Court Associate Justice Patricia Guerrero as the next chief justice.
Guerrero, the court’s first Latina judge, has been on the state Supreme Court since March as an associate justice. She would replace Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who will step down once her term ends in January.
“Justice Guerrero has established herself as a widely respected jurist with a formidable intellect and command of the law and deep commitment to equal justice and public service,” Newsom said in a news release announcing Guerrero’s nomination.
Guerrero’s nomination must first be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments and then by voters in the November general election.
Guerrero, 50, was raised in California’s Imperial Valley by immigrant parents from Mexico. Her legal experience includes being a partner at a major law firm, a stint as an Assistant U.S. Attorney and a trial court judge.
“I am humbled by this nomination to lead our state’s Supreme Court and thank the Governor for entrusting me with this honor,” Guerrero said in a news release.
Guerrero is a registered Democrat who would be paid a salary of $293,286.
If Guerrero is confirmed, Newsom said he plans to appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to fill Guerrero’s spot on the Supreme Court.
Evans, 53, is from Oakland and grew up in public housing. She attended Stanford University and got a law degree from the University of California, Davis School of Law. She was chief deputy legal affairs secretary for Newsom, where she helped him shape a moratorium on capital punishment that Newsom issued in 2019.
In a news release, Evans said she was “truly honored” at the opportunity to be on the state Supreme Court.
“If confirmed, I look forward to furthering our state’s work to ensure equal justice under the law for all Californians,” Evans said in a news release.
Evans is a registered Democrat and would make $279,677.