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Associate Justice Patricia Guerrero

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Associate Justice Patricia Guerrero

Justice Patricia Guerrero was nominated to serve as the next Chief Justice of California by Gov. Gavin Newsom. If elected by voters at the Nov. 8 general election, Justice Guerrero would be the first Latina to serve as California’s Chief Justice, with a term beginning Jan. 3, 2023. Her nomination was confirmed by a unanimous vote of the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Justice Guerrero was sworn in as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court in March 2022, making her the first Latina to serve on the state's high court.

Prior to being elevated to the California Supreme Court, Justice Guerrero had served as an associate justice at the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division One since 2017.

A native of the Imperial Valley raised by immigrant parents from Mexico, Justice Guerrero began working in a grocery store at the age of 16 and graduated as co-valedictorian in high school. She continued working to help pay for her education while attending the University of California, Berkeley and Stanford Law School, where she earned a Juris Doctor degree. Justice Guerrero was active in the Latino Law Students Association and helped fellow students at the recruitment and retention center.

Prior to her appointment to the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Justice Guerrero served as a judge at the San Diego County Superior Court from 2013 to 2017 and was supervising judge for the Family Law Division at the court in 2017. Justice Guerrero was hired as an associate at Latham & Watkins and became a partner in 2006. She served as an assistant U.S. attorney at the U.S. Attorney’s Office, Southern District of California from 2002 to 2003.

Justice Guerrero has contributed many hours of pro bono work, including as a member of the Advisory Board of the Immigration Justice Project, to promote due process and access to justice at all levels of the immigration and appellate court system. She has assisted clients on a pro bono basis in immigration matters, including asylum applications and protecting vulnerable families by litigating compliance with fair housing laws.

As a justice on the Fourth District Court of Appeal, Justice Guerrero was chair of the State Bar’s Blue Ribbon Commission on the Future of the Bar Exam and chair of the Judicial Council of California Advisory Committee on Criminal Jury Instructions. Justice Guerrero has been active in Chief Justice Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye's “Judges in the Classroom” civics program.

In July, Justice Guerrero was elected to the American Law Institute, an independent national organization that produces scholarly work to clarify, modernize and otherwise improve the law. Justice Guerrero is also being recognized in October as a recipient of the annual Bernard E. Witkin award for Excellence in the Adjudication of the Law. 

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