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

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

The nomination, which is subject to confirmation by a state judicial commission and by voters in November, would elevate the 50-year-old Guerrero, currently the court’s most junior member, to its most senior role — in which she would continue hearing cases alongside the court’s six associate justices, but also serve as the administrative leader of the high court and as chair of the Judicial Council of California, which sets administrative policy for all state courts.

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. His decision to elevate her to chief justice, over more senior justices appointed by other governors, further cements his own influence on the court, and potentially for decades to come. Chief justices serve an initial 12-year term, but can be reappointed.

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.

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