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Democrat on Calif. Court to Retire in February

(CN) - The California Supreme Court on Thursday announced the retirement of Justice Carlos Moreno, the sole Democratic force on the court who had reportedly been considered to fill the seat on the federal Supreme Court eventually taken by Sonia Sotomayor.

Feb. 28 will mark the last day on the court for Moreno, 62, who had just been re-elected for a 12-year term in November. Moreno was nominated to the court by Gov. Gray Davis in 2001. President Bill Clinton had nominated Moreno to the state's federal bench in 1998.

A Los Angeles native, Moreno had worked for the city's district attorney's office after graduating from Stanford Law and Yale University.

Moreno also worked for a time in private practice and Los Angeles trial judge.

On the Supreme Court, Moreno upheld gay marriage rights and was part of the majority in a split-court May 2008 decision allowing gays and lesbians to marry in California.

After Proposition 8 upended that ruling, the court ruled that the voter initiative was valid. Moreno was the lone dissenting voice from the court's decision, which was issued the same day Obama announced the appointment of Sotomayor to the seat left vacant by David Souter.

The appeal on Proposition 8 is currently being heard in federal court. On Tuesday, the court certified a question to Moreno's court over whether the measure's backers have standing.


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