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Editor’s Note: Greg Wolff was a staff attorney at the California Supreme Court for 27 years and served four justices including Justice Leondra Kruger. He now is of counsel to the California Appellate Law Group. The views expressed in this commentary are his own. View more opinion on CNN.

CNN  — 

The most impressive thing about California Supreme Court Justice Leondra Kruger, a potential contender for the US Supreme Court, is that she’s not trying to impress anyone.

Greg Wolff

Oh, she could. After graduating magna cum laude from Harvard University, she attended Yale Law School and was the first Black woman editor in chief of the Yale Law Journal.

Kruger clerked at the US Supreme Court and later represented the US government in a dozen cases before that court, earning her the Attorney General’s Award for Exceptional Service. Now she serves on California’s highest court.

Despite her impressive talents, Kruger is never boastful or conceited. To hear her tell it, she is just working hard and doing her job to the best of her ability. And that ability is remarkable. I saw it firsthand.

For four years, I worked inside her chambers as the supervising attorney on her staff. I often arrived at the court to find the lights on in her chambers. They still were on when I left.

In between, she was in there working and usually had lunch at her desk. Kruger worked evenings and weekends as well. I know because I would get emails or find work on my desk the next morning.

No, Kruger is not quite superwoman, but if she has superpowers, the first is preparation. Kruger reads everything. As an acting deputy solicitor general, she loved writing briefs; as a judge, she loves reading them.

During oral argument, Kruger is prepared and attentive. She listens closely, considers every argument with an open mind and asks insightful questions. Her queries are designed to clarify the advocates’ positions and explore the limits of their arguments, not to make a point or demonstrate her own cleverness.

I got a taste of these talents when I argued a case before her after leaving the court. She asked a question about a complex title insurance case that stopped me cold. I’m still trying to figure out a better answer than the one I came up with.

During my tenure, Kruger missed only one oral argument – and that was because she had gone into labor with her second child. She had planned to attend that day even though her daughter was due the following week.

Another super strength is her writing. Kruger carefully crafts her opinions so that everyone – not just lawyers and judges – can understand them.

The California Supreme Court is the most diverse state high court in the nation. Of the six current members (there is one vacancy), three are women and only one is a White male. And yet with all of these differing backgrounds (Justice Marty Jenkins is a former NFL football player), the court is often unanimous. They follow the law rather than their differing personal beliefs.

Kruger has been a crucial part of her court’s cohesion and consensus. Behind the scenes, she offers an approach that can garner the support of a majority of the court. Her colleagues trust her and listen to her.

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    Those skills could make a difference at the US Supreme Court. Kruger knows how to talk to people who do not initially agree with her and help them understand the wisdom of her position. She can disagree without being disagreeable.

    Put simply, Kruger is the kind of person we need on our nation’s highest court. She is a highly intelligent, thoughtful, hardworking person who treats each person, no matter their station in life, with dignity and respect. And she’s willing and able to roll up her sleeves and do the hard work of deciding the most important cases in the country.