From the sfgate:
As a boy, Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar walked 7 miles each way from his home in Mexico to a school in Texas. On Tuesday, Cuéllar, a Harvard graduate and Stanford law professor, was nominated by Gov. Jerry Brown to the California Supreme Court.
If confirmed, he will be the court's first Latino justice since 2011 and its first Latino immigrant.
Cuéllar's appointment is "a statement to the rest of the nation as we go through this backlash against immigrants," said Laurie Levenson, a law professor at Loyola Marymount in Los Angeles.
The state Senate's leader, President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento, called the nomination "an inspired choice ... a timely reminder that our Golden State was forged by disparate immigrant communities who pushed frontiers and who, together, recognized a common strength in diversity."
Cuéllar, 41, gained stellar credentials - degrees from Harvard, Yale and Stanford, service in two presidential administrations and a law professorship - from an unlikely and modest background.
Born in the northern Mexico town of Matamoros, the child, known as Tino, walked through the border crossing each day to attend a Catholic school in Brownsville, Texas, said his father, Alfredo Cuéllar, who had attended the same school.
"We were an average family, not rich, not very poor ... but we were very fortunate to have a passion for education," he said. "Tino picked up that culture of education and books and historical issues, legal issues."
When Tino was 14, his father got his immigration papers and took his family to Calexico (Imperial County), where he had a job teaching Spanish. The father later became a visiting professor at Harvard and recently retired as an associate professor of education at Fresno State University.
Brown nominated Cuéllar to succeed Marvin Baxter, the court's most conservative justice, who is retiring at the end of his current 12-year term in January. With another vacancy to fill after Justice Joyce Kennard's retirement in April, the Democratic governor has a chance to shift the ideological balance on a court that has been controlled by Republican appointees since 1987.
The nomination also continues Brown's record of diversifying the courts. He previously appointed the court's first female, African American and Latino justices, as well as the nation's first openly gay and lesbian judges.
The last Latino on the court, Carlos Moreno, retired in February 2011 and was succeeded by Brown's first appointee, Goodwin Liu - who, like Cuéllar, was a law professor with no previous judicial experience.
In a statement, Cuéllar 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."
His nomination will go before the Commission on Judicial Appointments, which consists of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Kamala Harris and Joan Dempsey Klein, senior presiding justice of the state Court of Appeal. The hearing has not been scheduled.
If confirmed before November, Cuéllar will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot for voter approval to a 12-year term that begins in January.