Marvin R. Baxter

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Marvin Baxter
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
In office
January 1991 – January 5, 2015
Nominated by George Deukmejian
Preceded by David Eagleson
Succeeded by Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar
Personal details
Born (1940-01-09) January 9, 1940 (age 77)
Fowler, California
Alma mater California State University, Fresno,
UC Hastings College of the Law

Marvin Ray Baxter (born January 9, 1940) is a former Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California.


Baxter was born in Fowler, California, and was raised on his family's farm. He is of Armenian descent; all four of his grandparents were born in Armenia and later moved to the United States.[1] His paternal grandfather changed the family surname from Bagdasarian to Baxter because of strong anti-Armenian prejudice in the Fresno area during the 1930s.[1]

Baxter graduated from Fowler High School and went on to attend California State University, Fresno, where he earned his undergraduate degree in economics. Upon graduation, he became a Coro Foundation Fellow in Public Affairs (1962–63), then entered UC Hastings College of the Law, from which he earned his law degree in 1966.[2]

He began his legal career as a Fresno County deputy district attorney in 1967. Subsequently, he entered private practice in civil law in 1969.[2] It was during this time he was an associate and then a partner in the Fresno Law firm of Andrews, Andrews, Thaxter, Jones and Baxter where he practiced civil law.

In 1983, he moved back into public service as Appointments Secretary, advising Governor George Deukmejian on judicial and executive appointments.[2]

In December 1988, Governor Deukmejian appointed him to be an Associate Justice of the California Court of Appeal for the fifth district. In January 1991, he was appointed associate justice of the Supreme Court of California.[2] He was retained by the electorate in November 2002, with 71.5% of the vote.[3]

Baxter retired on January 4, 2015.[4]

Judicial philosophy[edit]

Baxter preferred not to describe his own judicial philosophy, but a 1993 article in the Los Angeles Times described him as having an "emerging reputation among court observers as cautious, conservative and competent".[5] The article also described a split between observers who considered him a solid part of the Court's conservative majority (led by Malcolm M. Lucas), and others who considered him harder to pin down. In 2008, he was part of the dissenting minority in In re Marriage Cases, a 4-3 decision legalizing same-sex marriage in California.


  1. ^ a b Maura Dolan, "Sentence Upheld in Turkish Diplomat's Slaying," Los Angeles Times, 3 February 1995.
  2. ^ a b c d "Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter". Judicial Council of California. Retrieved 2013-10-28. 
  3. ^
  4. ^ Dolan, Maura (July 22, 2014). "Mexico-born law professor Cuellar chosen for California Supreme Court". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved July 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Justice Baxter Digs In but Critics Still Harbor Doubts". The Los Angeles Times. January 19, 1993. p. 3 (Section A). 
Legal offices
Preceded by
David Eagleson
Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California
Succeeded by
Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar