Supreme Court

Latina Attorney Applauds Supreme Court Justice Patricia Guerrero's Appointment

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California Supreme Court Justice Patricia Guerrero has broken barriers and shattered glass ceilings, and she's inspiring women everywhere.

"This is such an exciting and historical time,” said San Diego attorney Alara Chilton.

The San Diego appeals court judge is the first Latina to serve on the California Supreme Court. 

“We are so excited to see someone from the Imperial Valley, someone who has an immigrant story, someone who worked really hard to make it and did it,” said Chilton. 

Like Guerrero, Chilton is also a first-generation American. 

“I am the firstborn to Colombian immigrants and I have a brother and both of us were the first to go to college in our family,” said Chilton. 

Chilton is now a civil attorney in San Diego but she says it hasn't been easy to get to where she’s at, and for that reason, Justice Guerrero's appointment means so much to her.

“There's also the reality that as a woman, you also still have to work harder, and for every dollar you earn in America it's still less than a man," said Chilton. "There are so many barriers."

Retired U.S. District Court Judge Irma Gonzalez knows that struggle very well.

“There wasn't a real push for diversity back when I was a lawyer, and, and started my judicial career,” said Gonzalez.

Gonzalez was San Diego's first Latina judge and the first Mexican-American federal judge in the U.S. While she's paved the way for many she says there is still a long way to go. But, she says, Justice Guerrero's appointment is definitely a step in the right direction. 

“It serves as a great example of someone who can achieve something, a powerful position, and not only a powerful position, but a responsible position and one that was young women can look up to her,” said Guerrero.

A historical appointment that's now serving as a message of representation and change. 

“These appointments are saying ‘it's okay, it's okay to come from different backgrounds, we see you and we see the work that you've done, and you are at the table,” said Chilton.

Supreme Court Judge Patricia Guerrero will be sworn in Monday by Governor Newsom.

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