Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar

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Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
Assumed office
January 5, 2015
Nominated by Jerry Brown
Preceded by Marvin R. Baxter
Personal details
Born (1972-07-27) July 27, 1972 (age 43)
Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico
Nationality American
Spouse(s) Lucy Koh
Alma mater Harvard University (B.A.)
Yale Law School (J.D.)
Stanford University (Phd)
Occupation Professor

Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuéllar (born July 27, 1972) is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California, academic and former official in the Clinton and Obama administrations. He is an expert in administrative law, criminal law, international law, public organizations, and the law of public health and safety. He was previously the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.[1] He has been the Co-Director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation.

Early life and education[edit]

An American citizen, Cuéllar was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México, and attended junior high school in Brownsville, Texas. When he was in high school, his family moved from Texas to the city of Calexico, in California’s Imperial Valley.[2]

He graduated magna cum laude with a BA from Harvard in 1993, a JD from Yale Law School in 1997, and a PhD in political science from Stanford in 2000.

Professional career[edit]

Cuéllar's official California Supreme Court photo.

Cuéllar's research and teaching focus on administrative law, criminal law, executive and legislative power, and how organizations manage public health and safety, migration, and international security issues in a changing world.[3] Before joining Stanford Law School, Cuéllar worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and clerked for the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Cuéllar joined the Stanford Law School in 2001. He was promoted to Professor and Deane F Johnson Faculty Scholar in 2007 and became Stanley Morrison Professor of Law in 2012. At Stanford, he also served as Co-Director of the university's inter-disciplinary Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) from 2011 to 2013.[4] In February 2013, he was promoted and chosen to serve as Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), a university-wide research and education institution responsible for overseeing CISAC and other Stanford centers focused on international affairs.[5] During the years he led FSI and CISAC, Cuéllar grew the Institute's faculty, expanded Stanford's role in nuclear security research and policy, launched university-wide initiatives on global poverty and on cybersecurity, increased support for projects on global health and governance, and broadened opportunities for student and faculty research abroad. [6]

Cuéllar was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project from 2008,[7] where he co-directed the working group on immigration, borders and refugee policy.

From early 2009 to the summer of 2010, Cuéllar took leave from Stanford Law School and served as a Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council.[8] While at the White House, he led the Domestic Policy Council’s work on public health and safety, regulatory reform, civil rights, immigration, and rural and agricultural policy. He coordinated the Food Safety Working Group,[9] a new inter-agency effort tasked with revamping federal food safety efforts.

In July 2010, President Barack Obama appointed[10][11] Cuéllar to the Council of the nonpartisan Administrative Conference of the United States.[12] From 2010 until his appointment to the judiciary in 2015, he also served on the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, a bipartisan non-profit organization that builds consensus on significant constitutional issues affecting the rule of law and criminal justice.[13] In addition, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan selected Cuéllar to serve as Co-Chair of the National Equity and Excellence Commission in 2011. On February 19, 2013, the 27-member Commission delivered a unanimous report to the Secretary raising concerns about the current state of American public education. To reduce the nation's achievement gaps, the report recommended local, state, and federal reforms addressing school finance and efficiency, teaching and learning opportunities, early childhood education, and other areas.[14]

In 2011, Cuéllar was one of the candidates under consideration by California Governor Jerry Brown to fill the vacancy on the California Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Carlos R. Moreno.[15]

On July 22, 2014, Governor Brown nominated Cuéllar for Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.[16] He was given the highest possible rating, "exceptionally well-qualified," by the California State Bar's independent Judicial Nominations Evaluation Commission.[17] On August 28, 2014, the California Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed Cuéllar.[18] He was sworn in on January 5, 2015.[19]

Law reform work[edit]

Cuéllar was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008 and was elected to the ALI Council in 2014.[20] He has worked on several ALI projects, including Model Penal Code: Sentencing,[21] Principles of Government Ethics,[22] and Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States.[23]


Cuéllar is married to United States District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California, and they have two children. They live in Northern California.


  1. ^ "Law Professor, Security Expert to Lead FSI". Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Retrieved 2013-02-15. 
  2. ^ "Cuellar's Personal Journey Leads Him to the Helm of FSI". Stanford Daily. February 27, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, Stanley Morrison Professor of Law". Stanford Law School. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  4. ^ "Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar becomes CISAC co-director". Center for International Security and Cooperation. September 5, 2011. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  5. ^ "Cuellar's Personal Journey Leads Him to the Helm of FSI". Stanford Daily. February 27, 2013. 
  6. ^ "Cuéllar Looks Back on Leading FSI". Stanford CISAC News. December 15, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Policy Working Groups". Obama Biden Transition Project. December 2008. 
  8. ^ "CISAC Faculty Member Mariano-Florentino Cuellar asked to serve on White House Domestic Policy Council". Center for International Security and Cooperation. March 13, 2009. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  9. ^ "Foodborne Illness Victims Meet with White House to Push for Food Safety Reform". Make Our Food Safe. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  10. ^ "President Obama Announces More Key Administration Posts, 7/8/10". July 8, 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  11. ^ "Mariano-Florentino Cuellar to be appointed to the Council of the Administrative Conference of the United States". FSI Stanford. July 9, 2010. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  12. ^ "The Conference". ACUS. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  13. ^ "Directors and advisors". The Constitution Project. Retrieved 2012-12-24. 
  14. ^ "For Each and Every Child: A Strategy for Education Equity and Excellence" (PDF). U.S. Department of Education, Equity and Excellence Commission. February 2, 2013. 
  15. ^ Dolan, Maura (February 14, 2011). "Brown considers an activist for state Supreme Court appointment". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved February 18, 2011. 
  16. ^ Siders, David (July 22, 2014). "Jerry Brown names law school professor to California Supreme Court". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved July 22, 2014. 
  17. ^ "Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar Confirmed for State Supreme Court". Retrieved August 28, 2014. 
  18. ^ "California Supreme Court Nominee Gets Glowing Comments From Judges". Retrieved August 29, 2014. 
  20. ^ American Law Institute - List of Officers and Council
  21. ^ Model Penal Code: Sentencing - List of Project Participants
  22. ^ Principles of Government Ethics - List of Participants
  23. ^ Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States - List of Project Participants
Legal offices
Preceded by
Marvin R. Baxter
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California

External links[edit]