Last week, Governor Jerry Brown appointed Stanford Law professor Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar to the California Supreme Court, reported the Los Angeles Times. In January, Cuéllar will fill the seat of Justice Marvin Baxter, who will not seek reelection in November. Cuéllar has all the right bona fides to sit on California's highest court: Harvard undergraduate, Yale Law School, plus a Ph.D. in political science from Stanford. He's taught at Stanford Law School since 2001.
Cuéllar, however, has something that's unusual for a California Supreme Court justice: no judicial experience at all. Six of the seven justices on the Court came straight from a position on a Court of Appeal. Governor Brown's most recent appointment, Goodwin Liu, is the exception. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Justice Liu was a professor at Berkeley Law School and had done some work in private practice and for the U.S. Department of Education. He was the odd man out on a court composed of people who were judges already.