Chair, CASBS Board of Directors
Justice Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar began serving on the California Supreme Court in January 2015, after being nominated by Governor Jerry Brown and confirmed unanimously by the California Commission on Judicial Appointments. Before his service on the Court, he was the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law and Professor (by courtesy) of Political Science at Stanford University. A member of the Stanford Law School faculty since 2001, Cuéllar has written books, chapters, and articles on administrative law, executive and legislative power, criminal justice, public health law, international law, and immigration.
Between 2004 and 2015, Cuéllar also held leadership positions at Stanford’s Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. As Institute director, he supervised 12 centers and programs addressing international affairs, governance and development, food security and the environment, and health policy. During his tenure leading the Institute and, earlier, its Center for International Security and Cooperation, Cuéllar grew the Institute's faculty, expanded Stanford's role in nuclear security research, launched university-wide initiatives on global poverty and cyber security, increased support for projects on global health and governance, and broadened opportunities for student and faculty research abroad.
While on leave from Stanford, Cuéllar worked at the White House as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy (2009-2010). In this role, he led the Domestic Policy Council staff responsible for civil and criminal justice, public health policy, and immigration. Earlier, he served on the Obama presidential transition team (2008) and at the U.S. Department of the Treasury (1997-1999). He was also a presidentially-appointed member of the governing council for the U.S. Administrative Conference (2010-2015), and co-chaired the U.S. Department of Education’s National Equity and Excellence Commission (2011-2013). Currently, Cuéllar chairs the Implementation Task Force on Language Access for the California judiciary and serves on the boards of several not-for-profit organizations.
After graduating from Calexico High School in California’s Imperial Valley, he received a BA from Harvard with high honors, a JD from Yale Law School, and a PhD in political science from Stanford. A life member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Cuéllar clerked for Chief Judge Mary M. Schroeder of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.
“It’s no coincidence that time and again since the 1950s, ideas that transformed our understanding of human behavior –– whether behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, social cognition, or new approaches to the history of science –– can trace their lineage to people working in the Center’s courtyards and studies. Today the Center is reimagining the study of behavior and society as it explores some of the most profound questions facing humanity –– such as how work will evolve as technology changes, how our mindsets affect health and well-being, how cities adapt to climate change, and when different cultures can learn from each other."
A naturalized U.S. citizen born in Northern Mexico, Cuéllar spent much of his youth living in close proximity to the U.S.-Mexico border, including some years living in Mexico and crossing the border daily to attend Catholic school in Texas. On the busride back to the border crossing he’d often read science fiction novels and short stories. He still does.