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Gov. Newsom nominates Justice Patricia Guerrero as California’s next chief justice

Gov. Gavin Newsom on Wednesday nominated Justice Patricia Guerrero to be the next chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

Newsom appointed Guerrero to the court as an associate justice in February, and she was confirmed — as the first Latina to sit on the court — in March.

The nomination follows current Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye’s announcement two weeks ago that she would not seek a second term when her current term ends in January.

In a statement, Newsom said 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.”

He said the Imperial Valley native “broke barriers as California’s first Latina Supreme Court Justice, enriching our state’s highest court with her insights and deep understanding of the real-world impacts of the Court’s decisions in the lives of everyday Californians.” He said he was “confident that the people of California will continue to be well served by her leadership for years to come.”

Guerrero, in her own statement, said she was “humbled” by the nomination.

“If confirmed, I look forward to continuing the strides the Court has made under Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye to expand equal access to justice and create a fairer justice system for all Californians,” Guerrero said.

Newsom also said he would appoint Alameda County Superior Court Judge Kelli Evans to the state’s high court to fill the associate justice spot vacated by Guerrero.

He said Evans “has dedicated herself to helping all Californians have an equal chance at justice.”

“I have seen firsthand her commitment to the highest ideals of public service, and her passion to protect and advance civil rights and liberties for all Californians,” Newsom said. “I have no doubt that her exemplary talent, wide-ranging knowledge and experience, strong moral compass, and work ethic will make her an outstanding Supreme Court Justice.”

Evans, in a statement, said she was honored.

“I have worked my entire career to promote equality and access to justice and to protect the rights of some of society’s most disenfranchised members,” she said. “If confirmed, I look forward to furthering our state’s work to ensure equal justice under the law for all Californians.”

Newsom’s nominations will be submitted to the State Bar’s Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation, and must be confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments.

Guerrero’s nomination as chief justice would also have to be confirmed by voters in November, the governor’s office noted.

This article will be updated.

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