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CA Supreme Court Nominee Joshua Groban "Exceptionally Well Qualified," Evaluators Say

Joshua Groban, incoming associate justice of the California Supreme Court.

Joshua Groban, Gov. Brown's final nominee to the California Supreme Court, has received state judicial evaluators' top rating, exceptionally well qualified.

Groban, Brown's senior adviser for the last seven years, "has an outstanding scholastic background and significant legal experience in civil practice with major law firms on both coasts," David Fermino, chairman of the state bar's commission on judicial nominees evaluation, wrote to the commission on judicial appointments in a letter released Wednesday.

"His broad range of legal experience, his love of learning and of the law, and his affirmative desire to hear diverse viewpoints, suit him ideally for consideration of the wide array of cases that come before our Supreme Court," Fermino concluded.

The judicial appointments commission, comprised of Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, Attorney General Xavier Becerra and First District Court of Appeal Justice Anthony Kline, is set to hold confirmation hearings on Groban's nomination Friday.

In addition to the glowing review, documents released Wednesday include more than 40 letters of support for Groban from legal and social organizations, judges and lawyers. Many of the letter-writers praised Groban, who was Brown's chief adviser on judicial appointments for his efforts to diversify California's judiciary.

"I am impressed with his thorough and thoughtful approach in evaluating candidates and appointees, and especially with his review of candidates' decisions whether as a superior court judge or as a pro tempore appellate justice to make informed recommendations to the governor," Elwood Lui, administrative presiding justice of the Second District Court of Appeal, wrote to the judicial appointments commission.

Before joining Brown’s administration, Groban was a civil litigator at Munger, Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles from 2005 to 2010. Between 1999 and 2005, he was an attorney with Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison. He served as a law clerk for Judge William Conner of the U.S. District Court for the New York’s Southern District from 1998 to 1999.

Like Brown's most recent appointments to the Supreme Court, Groban has no experience as a judge. He does have ties to academia, having lectured at the University of California, Los Angeles School of Law since 2015.

Four witnesses are scheduled to testify in support of Groban's nomination Friday: Retired California Supreme Court Associate Justice Carlos Moreno; Presiding Justice Arthur Gilbert of the Second District Court of Appeal's Division Six; First District Court of Appeal Associate Justice Therese Stewart; and Munger partner Ronald Olson.