Meet the Judges Who Made the Decision

California Supreme Court Judges

Last Thursday’s 121-page ruling by the California Supreme Court to allow same-sex marriage was one of the court’s most controversial decisions ever, and will potentially affect hundreds of thousands of Golden State residents who identify themselves as gay. The court itself was deeply divided, with four judges in favor and three against.

So just who are these judges? Here’s a roll call.

In Favor of Decision

Chief Justice Ronald George: Known to some as “King George” for centralizing judicial power, this 68-year-old, Republican, and 1991 Gov. Pete Wilson appointee authored the decision.

Justice Joyce Kennard: This Indonesian-born, 67-year-old moderate Republican-whose fast rise up the judicial ladder peaked when appointed in 1989 by Gov. George Deukmejian-also authored a supporting opinion on the ruling.

Justice Kathryn Werdegar: This 72-year-old San Francisco native, also a moderate Republican, was appointed by Gov. Wilson in 1994.

Justice Carlos Moreno: The only Democratic judge on the court, this 59-year-old Los Angeles native was appointed in 2001 by Gov. Gray Davis.

Against Decision

Justice Marvin Baxter: Raised on his family’s farm south of Fresno, this 68-year-old conservative Republican-appointed by Gov. Deukmejian 1991-authored a strongly worded dissenting opinion, arguing that the court committed a “profound error” by acting as a “judicial fiat” to breach the constitutionally mandated separation of powers.

Justice Ming Chin: This 65-year-old Bay Area resident is a conservative Republican who was appointed by Gov. Wilson in 1996 and, with Justice Baxter, comprises the court’s right-leaning block.

Justice Carol Corrigan: This 59-year-old Stockton native and self-labeled centrist left the Democrats in the mid ’90s to become a Republican, was appointed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2005, and authored a dissenting opinion saying that she doesn’t believe the state’s constitution allows the judges to overturn the will of the people and opined that such matters should be left to the ballot box.


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