Gov Newsom appointed a new Supreme Court justice, but he should have nominated her

Timothy Kowal, Esq.
November 3, 2022

When Governor Gavin Newsom selected Justice Patricia Guerrero as the new Chief Justice, he also “appointed” Judge Kelli Evans to fill the empty seat. But there was some debate about whether the governor may “appoint” Evans, or whether instead he needed to “nominate” her, to be confirmed by the voters.

Supreme Court-commentator David Ettinger has written extensively that, under the state constitution, the governor needed to nominate Guerrero’s successor.

Ettinger visits the California Appellate Law Podcast to explain the difference, why it matters — and how his commentary on the issue got him a call from the governor’s office.

Ettinger’s posts explaining the issue are here and here.

The full episode featuring David Ettinger is here.

Watch the clip here.

This is a clip from episode 53 of the California Appellate Law Podcast. Listen to the full episode here.

Tim Kowal helps trial attorneys and clients win their cases and avoid error on appeal. He co-hosts the Cal. Appellate Law Podcast at, and publishes a newsletter of appellate tips for trial attorneys at His appellate practice covers all of California's appellate districts and throughout the Ninth Circuit, with appellate attorneys in offices in Orange County and Monterey County. Contact Tim at or (714) 641-1232.