Jerry Brown, whose 1.0 term had the blemish of a three-justice removal by the voters (after he had left office), has now redefined the court again, although in a much different way. He has appointed an Asian-American, a Latino, and an African-American. While I don't have time this morning to survey all the states' highest courts, I'd bet we have the most diverse supreme court in the nation, and the smartest.
The appointment settles the criticism aimed at the governor's office when he appointed Goodwin Liu to fill the position vacated by Carlos Moreno. Both Latino and African-American communities were disappointed at Liu's appointment as neither had seats on the state's highest court, while Asian-Americans gained a majority of the 7 seats. Reportedly, the administration essentially said "wait, we'll have more."
And, Governor Brown delivered. With the next appointment Mariano-Florentino Cuéllar, legal scholars are astonished about the team that has been assembled. This is a Super Bowl/World Series/Stanley Cup team on our state's highest court, from various political perspectives.
Assuming Kruger is confirmed as expected by the three-member committee, we have a court with a continued female majority, a Filipino-American chief justice, 3 Asian-Americans, 2 whites, 1 Latino and 1 African-American. Beyond their demographics, I would argue that this is by far the smartest state highest court in the nation.
Goodwin Liu (a Democratic appointee), who had been caught up in the black hole of U.S. Senate confirmation for a Ninth Circuit appointment is known as the workhorse of the court, while chief justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye (a Republican appointee) carries the political fight for court funding and tries to unify judiciary divided over statewide versus local determination.