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Governor Brown Swears in Justice Joshua Groban (gov.ca.gov)
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Governor Brown Appoints Longtime Aide to California Supreme Court

Joshua Groban Is Only Brown’s Fourth Overall Nominee to State’s Highest Court

By Sean Brown, January 4, 2019 3:14 pm

After serving for nearly a decade as senior advisor to Governor Jerry Brown, Joshua Groban, 45, of Los Angeles has been sworn into the state’s highest court following a ceremony in Sacramento.

Groban, who was unanimously confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments on December 21st, has “advised the Governor in high-profile litigation and policy issues involving education, the judiciary, criminal justice, national security and constitutional interpretation.” He has also worked for several high powered and highly respected law firms upon earning a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard University Law School.

The Governor’s appointment is significant as it marks only the fourth time Brown has selected someone to the California State Supreme Court in his nearly sixteen years as Governor. Two of those appointments came during Brown’s first term back in 1975 and two more during his most recent. Furthermore, Brown’s selection of Groban will keep the balance of the seven-member bench in Democratic control.

Speaking at the Stanley Mosk Library and Courts Building in Sacramento, Groban said, “We live in a highly chaotic, ever-changing and ever-confusing world, but I’m happy to report that I’m joining an institution whose fundamental purpose, at core, is to provide stability and consistency amidst this chaotic place we live. I look forward to doing that with a sense of reflection, respect, fidelity to the law and compassion.”

Although Brown’s nominee has been celebrated by many in his administration and throughout the state, critics have been quick to point out that Groban has had virtually no judicial experience. Despite leading the legal counsel for Brown’s 2010 campaign and overseeing the appointment of nearly 600 lower court judges, technically Groban himself has never been referred to as ‘Your Honor.’

While the gubernatorial reigns will shift out of the hands of Brown in just three days, many were also surprised that Brown did not leave the appointment open for current Governor-Elect Gavin Newsom.

Brown addressed this notion at Groban’s swearing-in ceremony, where he said, “I don’t want this to be known as a ‘Brown court,’” before referring to the judges saying, “They are individuals. They will differ. It’s not anybody’s court.”

Brown concluded his high praise of Groban by saying “Probably, next to my wife, I’ve talked to no person as much as I’ve talked to Josh Groban,” and “I warned him, don’t screw up, at least not at first.”

Groban will join the bench on January 8th when the court commences the New Year in San Francisco.

Sean Brown

Before becoming a writer for the California Globe, Sean served as a Legislative Director in the New York City Council and is an NYU alumnus.
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