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    Democracy & Voting Rights


    Gov. Gavin Newsom today announced the appointment of Judge Patricia Guerrero to the California Supreme Court, making it the first time that a Latina has sat on the state bench. UCLA LPPI joined a group of Latino advocates and legal experts to urge Gov. Newsom to appoint a Latina to the vacancy in a Sept. 24, 2021 letter. UCLA LPPI founding director Sonja Diaz issued the following statement in response to the appointment.

    “Gov. Newsom once again made history by appointing the first Latina to California’s top court, an important step in ensuring that the state continues to be a model for fair representation and equality, including in key leadership positions.

    “Despite the important contributions that Latinas make to power California’s economy, they continue to be underrepresented in positions of power. No Latina has ever occupied statewide constitutional office or a U.S. Senate seat in California, and until today, the state’s highest court. By elevating Latina leadership to the Supreme Court, Gov. Newsom is making it possible for other young Latinas to one day imagine themselves as leaders on a statewide and national stage. With the nomination of Judge Patricia Guerrero, California joins Colorado, Connecticut, Florida, New York and Texas in elevating Latina representation to these state’s highest courts.

    “California justices make decisions that affect housing, labor, environmental conditions, privacy, and consumer protection, all which require the lens and lived experience of someone who knows firsthand the challenges that California’s plurality population faces. Latinos represent 40% of California, but only 10% of its appellate judges. While we celebrate this historic appointment, we also want to emphasize that the push for fair representation and equity across our democratic institutions must continue.”


    The UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative addresses the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color through research, advocacy, mobilization, and leadership development to expand genuine opportunity for all Americans.