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What Little We Know About the Justices on the Ballot

Posted by Chris Nguyen on November 4, 2014

GavelWell, if you’re like me, you already figured out who you’re going to vote for in most races on the ballot and which ballot measures you’re voting for and against quite some time ago.  However, you’re probably thoroughly confused about the justices on the ballot since they don’t campaign, and they don’t have ballot statements.  We’re literally staring at names on a ballot.

I realize the justices are usually retained by 70%+, but I still prefer to try to be informed with my vote, rather than blindly picking.  I also have to keep in mind, that if a “No” vote prevails for any justice, Governor Jerry Brown picks the replacement.

In my 11th hour research, I tried to learn more about the justices, so I figured since I had the info, I might as well share with our readers Election Morning:

Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court

  • Goodwin Liu
    Official Biography
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 2011, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    U.S. Senate Republicans filibustered his nomination to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals by President Barack Obama (D)
    Professor of Law at UC Berkeley, 2003-2011
    Private Practice, O’Melveny & Meyers, 2001-2003
    Law Clerk for U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, 2000-2001
    Special Assistant to the U.S. Deputy Secretary of Education, 1999-2000
    Law Clerk for U.S. D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals Judge David Tatel, 1998-1999
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Master’s in Philosophy and Physiology, Oxford University
    Bachelor’s in Biology, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
    Law School Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D), Will Take Office in 2015 if Approved by Voters
    Professor of Law at Stanford since 2001
    Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy, 2009-2010
    Co-Chair, Immigration Policy Working Group for Obama-Biden Transition Team, 2008-2009
    Law Clerk for U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Chief Judge Mary Schroeder, 2000-2001
    Senior Advisor to the U.S. Undersecretary of the Treasury, 1997-1999
    Bachelor’s in Government and Political Psychology, Harvard University
    Master’s in Political Science, Stanford University
    Juris Doctor, Yale University
    Ph.D. in Political Science, Stanford University
    Registered Democrat
  • Kathryn Mickle Werdegar
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Supreme Court Justice Since 1994, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California First Circuit Court of Appeal Justice, 1988-1994, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Professor of Law at the University of San Francisco
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal and California Supreme Court
    Director of Criminal Law Division for Continuing Education at the California State Bar
    United States Department of Justice
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, George Washington University (Began Law Work at UC Berkeley)
    Registered Republican

There’s a lot less info out there about the appellate justices than the Supreme Court justices.

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 1

  • Terry B. O’Rourke
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1998, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1987-1998, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1984-1987, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1973-1984
    Bachelor’s, Claremont McKenna College
    Juris Doctor, Harvard University
    Registered Republican
  • Gilbert Nares
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1978-1998, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    San Diego County Municipal Court Judge, 1976-1978, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, Daubney, Banche, Patterson & Nares, 1968-1976
    Bachelor’s in Economics and Philosophy, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Registered Republican
  • Alex C. McDonald
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, 1963-1995
    Law Clerk for California Supreme Court Justice Raymond Peters
    Bachelor’s in Industrial Engineering, Stanford University
    Bachelor of Laws, University of California, Berkeley
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • James A. McIntyre
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Justice Since 1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    San Diego County Superior Court Judge, 1993-1996, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, McInnis, Fitzgerald, Rees, Sharkey & McIntyre, 1963-1993
    Bachelor’s in Philosophy, Brown University
    Bachelor of Laws, Stanford University
    Registered Republican

Associate Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 2

  • Thomas E. Hollenhorst
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1988, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Riverside County Superior Court Judge, 1981-1988, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1981, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Riverside County District Attorney’s Office, 1972-1981
    Bachelor’s, San Jose State University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Hastings
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Democrat

Presiding Justice of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • Kathleen E. O’Leary
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice, 2000-2012, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-2000, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Orange County Municipal Court Judge, 1981-1986, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Private Practice, 1975-1981
    Bachelor’s, Loyola Marymount University
    Juris Doctor, Southwestern University
    Registered Democrat

Associate Justices of the California 4th District Court of Appeal, Division 3

  • William F. Rylaarsdam
    Official Biography
    Wikipedia Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 1995, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Acting Presiding Justice, 2011-2012, Appointed by Supreme Court Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1986-1995, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge, 1985-1986, Appointed by Governor George Deukmejian (R)
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of California, Berkeley
    Juris Doctor, Loyola Law School
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • Richard M. Aronson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2001, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Pro Tempore, 2000-2001
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1996-2000, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Senior Staff Attorney, California Courts of Appeal, 1988-1989
    Supervisor of Writs and Appeals, Orange County Public Defender’s Office, 1980-1988
    Deputy District Attorney, San Bernardino County District Attorney’s Office, 1976-1979
    Private Practice, 1964-1985
    Bachelor’s, University of San Diego
    Juris Doctor, University of San Diego
    Master of Laws, University of Virginia
    Registered Republican
  • David A. Thompson
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2012, Appointed by Governor Jerry Brown (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 1998-2012, Appointed by Governor Pete Wilson (R)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1988-1997
    Private Practice, Rutan and Tucker, 1984-1988
    Staff Attorney, California Fourth District Court of Appeal, Division Three, 1983
    Superior Court Commissioner, 1989-1996
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, Georgetown University
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Republican
  • Richard D. Fybel
    Official Biography
    Judgepedia Biography
    California Fourth District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Since 2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Orange County Superior Court Judge, 2000-2002, Appointed by Governor Gray Davis (D)
    Private Practice, Morrison and Foerster, 1981-2000
    Private Practice, Nossaman, Guthner, Knox & Elliot, 1971-1981
    Bachelor’s in Business Administration, University of California, Los Angeles
    Juris Doctor, University of California, Los Angeles
    Registered Democrat

One Response to “What Little We Know About the Justices on the Ballot”

  1. Craig P. Alexander said

    For an additional resource for voting on judges go to Craig Huey’s Voter Guide site. Here is the link for Orange County: http://www.craighuey.com/oc_voter_guide. Then scroll down and he lists the judge races. Craig does some research into their opinions and analysis of their judicial leanings based upon those rulings. There are voter guides on his site for other areas in California such as Los Angeles.

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