Mariano-Florentino "Tino" Cuéllar (born July 27, 1972) is a Justice of the Supreme Court of California, an academic, and a former official in the Clinton and Obama administrations. He is an expert in administrative law, criminal law, international law, public organizations, and the law of public health and safety. He was previously the Stanley Morrison Professor of Law at Stanford Law School and the Director of Stanford's Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies.[2] He has been the Co-Director of Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation.



Early life and education

An American citizen, Cuéllar was born in Matamoros, Tamaulipas, México, and attended catholic school in Brownsville, Texas. At age 14, he moved with his family to Calexico, California, where he attended the local public high school.

He graduated with a BA magna cum laude from Harvard in 1993, a JD from Yale Law School in 1997, and a PhD in political science from Stanford in 2000.

Professional career


Cuéllar's research and teaching focus on administrative law, criminal law, executive and legislative power, and how organizations manage public health and safety, migration, and international security in a changing world. His publications include Administrative Law: The American Public Law System (West, 2014; co-authored), Governing Security (Stanford University Press, 2013), and numerous articles on administrative agencies, legislation, criminal justice, public health law, citizenship and migration, and domestic and international security.[3] Before joining Stanford Law School, he worked at the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and clerked for the Honorable Mary M. Schroeder, Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Cuéllar joined the Stanford Law School in 2001. He was named Professor and Deane F. Johnson Faculty Scholar in 2007, and became Stanley Morrison Professor of Law in 2012. At Stanford, he also served as Co-Director of the university's inter-disciplinary Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) from 2011 to 2013.[4] In February 2013, he was promoted and chosen to serve as Director of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies (FSI), a university-wide research and education institution responsible for overseeing CISAC and other Stanford centers focused on international affairs.[5] During the years he led FSI and CISAC, Cuéllar grew the Institute's faculty, expanded Stanford's role in nuclear security research and policy, launched university-wide initiatives on global poverty and on cybersecurity, increased support for projects on global health and governance, and broadened opportunities for student and faculty research abroad.[6]

From 2009 to the summer of 2010, Cuéllar took leave from Stanford Law School and served as Special Assistant to the President for Justice and Regulatory Policy at the White House Domestic Policy Council.[7] While at the White House, he led the Domestic Policy Council’s work on criminal and civil justice, public health and safety, regulatory reform, immigration, and rural and agricultural policy. He coordinated the Food Safety Working Group,[8] a new inter-agency effort tasked with revamping federal food safety efforts. Before working at the White House, Cuéllar was a member of the Obama-Biden Transition Project, where he co-directed the working group on immigration, borders and refugee policy.[9]

In July 2010, President Barack Obama appointed[2][2] Cuéllar to the Council of the nonpartisan Administrative Conference of the United States.[2] From 2010 until his appointment to the judiciary in 2015, he also served on the Board of Directors of The Constitution Project, a bipartisan non-profit organization that builds consensus on significant constitutional issues affecting the rule of law and criminal justice.[2] In addition, U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan selected Cuéllar to serve as Co-Chair of the National Equity and Excellence Commission in 2011. On February 19, 2013, the 27-member Commission delivered a unanimous report to the Secretary raising concerns about the current state of American public education. To reduce the nation's achievement gaps, the report recommended local, state, and federal reforms addressing school finance and efficiency, teaching and learning opportunities, early childhood education, and other areas.[2]

In 2011, Cuéllar was one of the candidates under consideration by California Governor Jerry Brown to fill the vacancy on the California Supreme Court created by the retirement of Justice Carlos R. Moreno.[15]

On July 22, 2014, Governor Brown nominated Cuéllar to the California Supreme Court.[2] He was given the highest possible rating, "exceptionally well-qualified," by the California State Bar's independent Judicial Nominations Evaluation Commission.[2] On August 28, 2014, the California Commission on Judicial Appointments unanimously confirmed Cuéllar.[2] He was sworn in on January 5, 2015.[2]

Law reform work

Cuéllar was elected to the American Law Institute in 2008 and was elected to the ALI Council in 2014. He has worked on several ALI projects, including Model Penal Code: Sentencing, Principles of Government Ethics, and Restatement Fourth, The Foreign Relations Law of the United States.


Cuéllar is married to United States District Judge Lucy H. Koh of the Northern District of California, and they have two children. They live in Northern California.