Mariano-Florentino Cuellar

Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor in the School of Law, has been nominated to the California Supreme Court. (Photo courtesy of FSI)

Stanford's Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar tapped for California Supreme Court

Cuéllar has been nominated to serve as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. He is the director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a professor at the law school.

Stanford's Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar was nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown on Tuesday to serve as an associate justice on the California Supreme Court.

A member of the Stanford faculty since 2001, Cuéllar, widely known as "Tino," has worked in two presidential administrations and has a significant track record in public service.

He is the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and director of the university's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. An expert in public law, Cuéllar has taught a variety of subjects, including administrative law, criminal law, international law, executive power and legislation. He is also a professor of political science, by courtesy, at the School of Humanities and Sciences.

Cuéllar, in the Office of the Governor's announcement, said, "I am enormously honored by Gov. Brown's nomination, and if confirmed, I look forward to serving the people of California on our state's highest court."

Stanford Provost John W. Etchemendy said, "Tino Cuellar has a depth of experience as a legal scholar and on federal policy that has made him invaluable to the Law School and the Freeman Spogli Institute.  We will sorely miss him at Stanford, but our loss is California’s gain. We are proud that the governor has recognized Tino's expertise. I know he will serve the people of California with dedication and distinction.”

M. Elizabeth Magill, the dean of the Stanford Law School and the Richard E. Lang Professor of Law, said, "The governor has made a brilliant choice in nominating Tino Cuéllar to the California Supreme Court. We have been honored to call Tino a member of our faculty for over a decade."

She added that beyond his many accomplishments as a lawyer, academic and policy maker, Cuéllar is "fair-minded and deeply committed to equal justice under the law. Although we are sad to see him go, this is a great day for California and the nation because a talented and compassionate individual will be serving the public as a member of the California Supreme Court."

"Tino Cuéllar is a renowned scholar," Gov. Brown said in a news release. "His vast knowledge and even temperament will – without question – add further luster to our highest court."

Born in Mexico, Cuéllar eventually attended school in nearby Texas, walking across the border to a Catholic school in Brownsville. At age 14, he moved with his family to Imperial County, California, where he graduated from high school before going on to earn a bachelor's degree at Harvard College, a juris doctor degree from Yale Law School and a doctorate in political science from Stanford.

About his role at FSI, Cuéllar said, "I have been privileged to lead this extraordinary institute, and to have worked with our faculty to strengthen our research capacity in our core areas of governance, security, international development and international health."

This year, he said, the institute launched the International Policy Implementation Lab to engage faculty in real-world problems of global health, security and governance, and partnered with the Graduate School of Business to start the Stanford-wide Global Development and Poverty Initiative. Both programs have expanded FSI's research impacts and campus partnerships, he added. Cuéllar is also proud of helping to provide new opportunities for Stanford students to do research abroad in places like India and Brazil through the Stanford Global Student Fellows program and partnerships with the Bing Overseas Studies Program. 

"Our work in global development, nuclear security, and cybersecurity has also benefited from our progress this year in raising funds to support faculty, hiring key personnel and engaging more of the Stanford campus," he said.

Ann Arvin, vice provost and dean of research, said, "As FSI director, Tino has brought a creative and strategic vision that will have a lasting impact on the research and education missions of the institute. While his departure is our loss, we know that his scholarly expertise, practical experience in government and commitment to excellence will be invaluable for the people of California." 

In other areas of his public service career, Cuéllar has served as special assistant to President Obama for Justice and Regulatory Policy, where he worked on issues such as enhancing food safety laws and sentencing reform, and was a co-chair of the Obama-Biden Transition Immigration Policy Working Group. He also worked as a law clerk to the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

During the second term of the Clinton administration, Cuéllar handled financial crime regulatory issues as senior adviser to the Under Secretary at the U.S. Department of the Treasury.

From 2011 to 2013, Cuéllar co-chaired the National Equity and Excellence Commission, created by Congress to address the achievement gap in America's public schools. He serves as a presidential appointee to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States and is a member of the board of directors for the bipartisan Constitution Project.

Cuéllar will fill the vacancy created by the retirement of the Honorable Marvin R. Baxter on Jan. 4, 2015. His nomination must be confirmed by the State Bar's Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation before it can appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for voter approval.