State Bar Panel Gives Highest Rating to High Court Nominee Leondra Kruger

A U.S. Justice Department official nominated to the California Supreme Court by Gov. Jerry Brown has been rated by a State Bar panel as “exceptionally well qualified” for the post.

Leondra Kruger, 38, was nominated by Brown last month to fill a vacancy left when Justice Joyce Kennard retired from the state high court in April. The seven-member court is based in San Francisco.

On Monday, the nomination will be considered by the state Commission on Judicial Appointments at a hearing in San Francisco.

Kruger’s rating by the State Bar panel, which is known as the State Bar Commission on Judicial Nominees Evaluation was announced in a Dec. 16 letter from the group to California Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye, who will preside over Monday’s hearing.

The “exceptionally well qualified” rating is the highest ranking the State Bar panel can give a judicial candidate.

Panel Chairman Jason Lee wrote in the letter to the chief justice that Kruger has “stellar credentials” and will bring a “unique and valuable perspective” to the state Supreme Court.

“She has excelled in all her endeavors and is praised for her intellectual firepower, written and oral advocacy skills, impeccable judgment, her fairness, diplomacy and her composure under pressure,” Lee wrote.

Kruger is currently deputy assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel in Washington, D.C.

She was previously an assistant to the U.S. solicitor general and acting principal deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department from 2007 to 2013.

Kruger grew up in Southern California and received her undergraduate degree from Harvard University and her law degree from Yale University.

The appointments commission that will consider her nomination on Monday will be made up of Cantil-Sakauye, state Attorney General Kamala Harris and senior Court of Appeal Presiding Justice Joan Dempsey Klein.

The hearing will be held at 11 a.m. in the Supreme Court courtroom of the State Building at 350 McAllister St. If confirmed, Kruger’s appointment will be effective immediately, according to a court spokesman.

Julia Cheever, Bay City News

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