Gov. Jerry Brown continued his frenetic pace of judicial appointments Tuesday, nominating four judges and lawyers to fill appellate court vacancies around the state.
Gordon Burns, the undersecretary of the California Environmental Protection Agency since 2011, was selected for the First District Court of Appeal’s Division Five. Like several of the governor’s recent court appointments, Burns served in the attorney general’s office during part of Brown’s tenure there, first as a deputy attorney general from 1997 to 2006 and then as deputy solicitor general from 2006 to 2010.
Burns was an associate at Downey, Brand, Seymour & Rohwer in Sacramento from 1996 to 1997, and he was an attorney at Resources Law Group for a year before joining the state EPA. If confirmed by the Commission on Judicial Appointments, Burns will replace Justice Terence Bruiniers, who is retiring.
In Southern California, Brown nominated Brian Currey, a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge for four years, to Division Four of the Second District Court of Appeal. A former partner at O’Melveny & Myers, Currey served as counsel and later deputy mayor to former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa.
If confirmed, Currey would fill the vacancy created by the elevation of Justice Nora Manella to presiding justice of Division Four.
Second District Justice Laurence Rubin was also nominated to serve as presiding justice of the appellate court’s Division Five. Rubin has been an associate justice on the court since 2001 and before that was a municipal judge in Santa Monica for 19 years. Rubin was of counsel at Mitchell, Silberberg & Knupp in 1982 and a partner at Kaplan, Livingston, Goodwin, Berkowitz & Selvin from 1978 to 1982.
Rubin would fill the vacancy created by the death of Presiding Justice Paul Turner.
Brown also chose another veteran Los Angeles Superior Court judge, John Shepard Wiley Jr., to serve on the Second District bench. Wiley has been a trial court judge since 2002. His lengthy resume includes stints as an assistant U.S. attorney in California’s Central District, of counsel at Mayer Brown, examiner at the Commission on Judicial Performance and policy consultant at the Federal Trade Commission.
If confirmed, Wiley will fill the position left empty by the elevation of Justice Laurence Rubin.
Brown terms out of office on Jan. 7. Since June 1, the governor has appointed 72 trial court judges and nominated 10 appellate court justices and one member of the state Supreme Court.
Governor Brown’s announcement is posted below: