Gov. Gavin Newsom on Monday appointed Martin Jenkins, a Black former prosecutor and judge, to the California Supreme Court.
Jenkins, a 66-year-old Democrat, is now Newsom’s Judicial Appointments secretary. He would become the first openly gay man on the California Supreme Court, and only the third Black man ever to serve on the state’s highest court.
He has been considered a candidate for the state’s top court for years, but former Gov. Jerry Brown passed him over for younger people from elite law schools. Unlike Jenkins, Brown’s choices also had no prior judicial experience.
“Justice Jenkins is widely respected among lawyers and jurists, active in his Oakland community and his faith, and is a decent man to his core,” Newsom said in a statement. “As a critical member of my senior leadership team, I’ve seen firsthand that Justice Jenkins possesses brilliance and humility in equal measure. The people of California could not ask for a better jurist or kinder person to take on this important responsibility.”
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