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California Supreme Court Justice Marvin Baxter to retire

Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter in 2013.
Associate Justice Marvin R. Baxter in 2013.

Justice Marvin R. Baxter announced Wednesday that he will not seek re-election as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court in the November 2014 general election, according to a statement.

Fresno-born Baxter, who has 24 years of service on the Supreme Court and 32 consecutive years of public service, will conclude his current term of office and retire on Jan. 4, 2015.

“At the local and statewide levels I was gratified to have the opportunity to assist Governor Deukmejian in the appointment of more than 700 judges and numerous executive branch appointees, and to have supported the evolution of our judicial branch of government as a member of the Judicial Council of California and its committees,” said Justice Baxter in a statement. “Jane (my wife) and I look forward to an active retirement and will focus our time and attention on family and friends, traveling, hobbies, and charitable activities.”

Chief Justice Cantil-Sakauye commented on the announcement saying, “I was very fortunate when I became Chief Justice to have the quiet-spoken and reflective Justice Baxter on my left-hand side not only on the Supreme Court but also on the Judicial Council. I will miss his sage advice and counsel. His cautious approach has not only helped our judicial branch develop and manage the checks and balances of our democratic system, but his legal reasoning has significantly contributed to the ‘documents of state’ that our court’s opinions represent and therefore to the rule of law.”

Baxter career highlights:

  • Justice Baxter began his legal career in 1967 as a Fresno County deputy district attorney, where he served for two years.
  • He then became an associate and later a partner in the Fresno law firm of Andrews, Andrews, Thaxter, Jones and Baxter, where he practiced civil law for 13 years.
  • In 1983, he became Appointments Secretary to Governor Deukmejian, serving as principal advisor for six years on all gubernatorial appointments made to the executive and judicial branches of government.
  • In 1988, Governor Deukmejian appointed Baxter as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, where he served for two years.
  • Justice Baxter was nominated by Governor Deukmejian in 1990 to serve as an Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court and confirmed by the electorate.
  • In 1996, then-Chief Justice Ronald M. George appointed Justice Baxter to the Judicial Council of California, on which he still serves.
  • In 2002, Baxter was reelected to a second 12-year term as Associate Justice of the California Supreme Court.
  • Baxter will have served 18 years as Vice-Chair of the Judicial Council when he retires, and has chaired the council’s Policy Coordination and Liaison Committee for 16 years, as well as its Appellate Advisory Committee.

“Marv Baxter has been a good friend and trusted advisor for over 30 years,” said Former Governor Deukmejian. “His quiet yet thoughtful demeanor served as a steady influence during some troublesome times that I experienced in the Governor’s Office. His endless efforts resulted in well-established recommendations that I grew to rely upon, especially in the selection of individuals for judicial appointments.”