Carnegie Corporation Grantee Nominated to California Supreme Court

Grantees in this story

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Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of Stanford University’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, received unanimous confirmation from the California state Commission on Judicial Appointments. If approved by voters on the November 4th ballot, he will leave Stanford to begin serving a 12-year term as an associate justice in January 2015.

Cuéllar, known as Tino, is an attorney and legal scholar, and has been a professor at Stanford Law School since 2001, teaching administrative law, criminal law, international law, executive power, and legislation. He is also a professor of political science. He has been a grantee of Carnegie Corporation of New York since 2010, most recently as Principal Investigator for a grant to Stanford’s Center for International Security and Cooperation from the Corporation’s International Peace and Security Program. "Tino Cuéllar's extensive record of public service should prove a tremendous asset to California's highest court. We congratulate our grantee and wish him the best in this new role," said Patricia Moore Nicholas, Program Officer, Carnegie Corporation International Program. 

Born in Mexico, Cuéllar walked across the border to attend a Catholic school in Brownsville, Texas before moving with his family to Calexico, California at age 14. Growing up along the U.S.-Mexico border deeply affected his understanding of the world, he has said, prompting his desire to study politics and governance. After graduating from high school, he earned a bachelor’s degree at Harvard, a law degree from Yale Law School, and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

Cuéllar worked in the Clinton administration and served as special assistant to President Obama for Justice and Regulatory Policy for the White House Domestic Policy Council, covering issues from funding for drug treatment, to the BP oil crisis, and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”  He also co-chaired the National Equity and Excellence Commission created by Congress to address the achievement gap in America’s public schools. If approved, he will be the first Latino immigrant and the only Latino on the court. The Stanford Law School News quoted Cuéllar on his aspirations: “To my mind, judges must be humble yet decisive, committed to integrity and impartial and fair in every single case. If I am fortunate enough to serve on this court, each day will find me working to honor these ideals and earn the public’s trust.”